Dr. Paul Sharpe, a dental professor and research advisor, has shown through study that a natural tooth along with relevant root, bone and nerves will mature from a tooth “bud” or “primordium” of stem cells inserted in the area of an incision in the gum.
“In the future we envision, a patient who loses a tooth and wants a replacement will be able to choose between current methods and a biological-based implant—a new natural tooth—derived from the patient’s own dental stem cells,” Dr. Sharpe says.
Dr. Sharpe has also stated the benefits of human dental stem cells in terms of research, in that they are in abundance and raise no ethical issues. Whenever a baby tooth or molar is extracted there you have a potential source. There is no need for an extra invasive procedure and such stem cells can be kept for the donor themselves, thus avoiding the prospect of rejection.
This research is currently in its infancy, but other usage of dental stem cells in human research include the regrowing of jawbone and treatment of periodontal disease.
“Clearly, the future for regenerative and tissue-engineering application to dentistry is one with immense potential, capable of bringing quantum advances in treatment for our patients,” Dr. Sharpe says.