Science 3 min read

No More Fake Teeth: Dentists Regrow Teeth in Labs

Jeremy Mao of Columbia University has taken advantage of stem cell's capability to regenerate tissue by growing replacement teeth in the lab. These could potentially replace dental implants.

Edward Olive | Shutterstock.com

Edward Olive | Shutterstock.com

We can regrow teeth instead of relying on implants which have a tendency to fail.

I have a secret, and it’s right on the front of my face.

Years ago, I had to get one of my front teeth replaced. It was my first and only surgery.

I’m not alone, either. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than 3 million other Americans have implants.

Now, while I’m glad that my smile remains intact, there can be some pretty nasty drawbacks.

For me, that comes in the form of regular headaches every time a pressure system comes in. For others, it comes in the form of rejected implants, infection, and even heart disease.

Why do dental implants get rejected? It probably has something to do with how they work. A dental implant is, at its most basic, just a screw implanted into a patient’s head. That screw replaces the root of the tooth, while a fake crown provides the part that you see.

Thankfully, we may not have to worry about those side-effects much longer. Not because they are going away, but because they won’t be necessary. In the future, we won’t implant fake teeth–we’ll just grow new ones.

https://youtu.be/OCkywYanYGk

In the future, we won't implant fake teeth; we'll just grow new ones. #toothregeneration #perfectsmileClick To Tweet

This cause for celebration comes to us from Jeremy Mao of Colombia University, and it’s pretty miraculous. We’ve talked before about projects that help regenerate nerves, or cells of any kind, but this is new.

This time, the miracle medical procedure actually grows a new body part from scratch. Yeah, that body part may be a tooth, but I say it’s okay to start small.

Due to these new developments, all of the issues brought on by dental implants may disappear in the near future.

Say Goodbye to Fake Teeth

The new discovery could replace dental implants entirely.

The process takes stem cells from the patient’s body and creates a type of scaffolding where the tooth is grown. The whole process takes about nine weeks.

Contrast that with how getting an implant works. Some people have to have every vestige of their former tooth removed via surgery. Then, anywhere from six weeks to six months or more later, they get the ‘screw’ put in. Compared to that kind of time frame, nine weeks isn’t so long to wait.

Especially considering that what you get is a real tooth, made from your own stem cells.

Dentists observed successful results when the tooth was tested, which is a green light for this method to replace implants in the future.

So there we have it, folks. We started with nerves and cells, and we’ve moved up to teeth. Oh how far medical science has come; perhaps now growing an entire limb doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

I mean, head transplant, anyone? It’s very hard to get any crazier than that. That story has me seriously considering opening up an office discussion on the merits of putting your head on a robot body.

I was under the impression that bionics would become so advanced that we would see people with limbs like Luke Skywalker. We may still see that, sure, but if we can regrow body parts, we may not have to.

 

Will dentistry be the first healthcare field to make body part replacement commonplace?

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William McKinney

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Comments (12)
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  1. Ajay January 15 at 8:41 am GMT

    if only they would bring this to the public. not holding out any hope for it in the near future!

  2. Lucas Caudle May 03 at 12:05 pm GMT

    Now all they have to do is create artificial stem cells to get rid of the controversy of using stem cells.

    • Profile Image
      Freddie Chambers August 04 at 8:54 am GMT

      They do not use fetal stem cells. They supposedly harvest your own adult or dental stem cells.

  3. Eilasi Epoh May 10 at 6:11 am GMT

    It’s all bullshit, they have been blathering about this crap for 30 years and they grew teeth in lab animals over 20 years ago… if they ever even bother to start human trials it will be another 20 years before its approved to public, but who knows when that will even start because they come up with a new lie about this every 5 years, I can honestly think of at least 5 methods they came up with for this crap and then ignored without even having to think about it. I’ll be dead before anyone can fix my teeth. If not from starvation or suidice then from freaking old age.

    • JamesyTheBHOY August 18 at 7:35 pm GMT

      Unfortunately, you have no idea how close you are to the truth.

      They’ve been at it for decades. Each year, they’re promising it soon. Check back in down the line & you find said ‘researcher/s’ have moved onto something else.

      Prof Sharp from the UK said he could do it. Started up a company named Odontis over a decade ago with promises to start human trials before the end of said decade. Got funding & company went defunct shortly after. He’s now s(rewing around with dental pulp etc.

      Prof Tsuji from Japan grew a tooth in a mouse or rat years ago. Rather than try & use that to take the idea further & get around the whole kidney implantation thing, his team moved onto growing hair on rodents instead.

      In this article, Mao’s work is not too far off being a decade old. Yet constantly gets rehashed every few months by a website.

      There are plenty of others who have made similar promises throughout the years.

      A decade from now, not a d am n thing will have changed on this front & they’ll still be promising that it’s coming v soon.

      • Mat Bob October 15 at 4:31 pm GMT

        I agree keep hearing the same, What I dont understand there is a huge market for this much bigger than implants and fillings.

        • JamesyTheBHOY December 04 at 3:34 am GMT

          The market is there but the foresight isn’t. It’s the same why the big corporations like L’Oreal haven’t been all over hair cloning etc. They have the resources, they can afford the best people & have more than enough money to see it through.

          However to them, it’s not a viable concept. They would be willing to funding the R&D, clinical trials. Deal with the years & years of red tape & bureaucracy. But then the actual product would not reach the numbers they’d be looking for. It has to be done one on one over multiple visits & there are only so many patients that could be done each day per clinic.

          The big companies take is that essentially, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Even a dozen technicians per clinic would be lucky to reach 100 patients per day. It’s too small scale an endeavor for them to be bothering with.

          That leaves the small-startup who doesn’t have the capital to see it through from beginning to end. They won’t get enough investors until they’ve seen the product in action. Problem being that they can’t get a product ready without that investment to fund their research.

          The funny thing is that all the necessary ingredients have already been achieved by different teams around the world. All it would take now is to combine them together & the recipe couple be finished v quickly into a viable product.

      • Alan December 03 at 1:07 am GMT

        I can see this reply that was 3 months ago, so for my questions is how soon would it become to true? As a lot of people goes to old and old, and run out the time to wait.
        Alan

        • JamesyTheBHOY December 04 at 2:53 am GMT

          Put it this way, come say 2025, they’ll still be saying that the breakthrough is only 10+ years away.

          These researchers work via grants. They get money to do A. Grant runs out, they get another one to do B. Staff/Assistants get more qualified & move on to other jobs. It’s a constant one step forward, two steps back process.

          It really has to be done via private enterprise. The best thing about this is that the main components (4) have already been achieved in different labs. All that is required is putting them together & it becomes an instant reality. Small problem being that you are still talking about a talking about millions to buy up the research, assemble a team to put it together & then cover the costs of the clinical trial.

          If expedited, it could be ready for as an actual product in as little as 2/3 years. Weeks/months to negotiate for the research & assemble the staff. 6-12 months to put all the methods together in a single process. A year for the clinical trials. Then a move off-shore to open up a clinic. Try & do this in the US/UK etc & you will be jumping through red tape for at least a decade even after you’ve completed the trial stage successfully.

          To bring this about would literally be a life changing event for the recipients. Someone close to me was assaulted by her so-called best friend & was repeatedly kicked in the face & lost most of her teeth as a result. I have saw the physical & mental issues it’s caused her first hand. From being able to chew solid food, to helping the mental state. Even something as simple as giving people back their confidence..to see them smile & interact with people as equals again & not feel self conscious everytime they open their mouth.

          Keep your fingers crossed for me as if I win the lottery soon, I absolutely guarantee I’ll be all over this.

    • Profile Image
      Freddie Chambers August 04 at 9:03 am GMT

      The English company originally said five years. That was almost 15 years ago. I have a feeling that if it does happen it may be medical tourism. Even when it does happen. How you get in the program? If you want to see it happen? Be persistent and hope for the best. I have lost most of mm teeth. One gentlemen said to me that he did not it was necessary. Over 30 percent of the human race loose most if not all of their teeth by the age 0f 75.

  4. 2RANbit September 04 at 2:45 am GMT

    How long has it been already since this topic has started? I know – it is a complicated procedure. *sigh* But sometimes I – and probably many others along with me – wish to see the day it finally can be applied to humans…

  5. Profile Image
    Lena D May 05 at 8:13 pm GMT

    I’m so disappointed that I will never be able to use this or see my children use this. I’m so sick of money controlling the world instead of what’s right. They’ve come up with a bacteria years ago that prevent cavities but yet we’ll never see it. They’d rather see people’s teeth rot out for profit. Even though I know it’s a lost cause I hold a small flicker of hope that it will not be so.

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