Dentures are the past, dental implants are the present and this could be the future, teeth grown from stem cells!
"People really care about their teeth and they really care once those teeth are gone," Peter Murray, Ph.D., a professor of endodontics at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, florida, said.
Danka Premovic agrees. When previous dental work failed, she began wearing a mask.
"I'm a perky person. I'm a people person and for me to cover up my mouth and wear a mask, it's just not me," Danka Premovic, said.
Today, she has eight implants. It's patients like her dental regeneration researcher Peter Murray wants to help.
"It would be nice to give people back their own teeth and make their whole body whole again," Dr. Murray said.
To grow teeth, researchers isolate stem cells from the mouth or bone marrow. The cells are multiplied in the lab, then grown on 3D scaffolds.
"All the animal studies that have been done so far are very encouraging, so it looks like the clinical trials will be successful," Dr. Murray said.
The teeth can be grown in the lab and implanted in the patient or they could actually grow inside the patient's mouth, filling in empty spaces with new teeth in just a few months.
"This will be, in the future, standard of care in dentistry to use stem cell therapy to regrow teeth or parts of teeth."
Dentist Sharon Siegel says there's no doubt about it.
"If they can have a part of their body replaced by a part of them, I think we're going to have a whole new era in dentistry," Sharon Siegel, DDS at Nova Southeastern University said.
Though Danka is happy with her new implants, she says she'll be first in line when clinical trials for these begin.
Doctor Murray says growing replacement teeth from stem cells will pave the way for growing other complete replacement body parts. He says teeth are relatively safe because if a tooth fails, it can simply be extracted.