More and more miracles of dentistry are coming out to make dental care for modern people more advanced and effective. Recently, a group of scientists at the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science created a new technology which can be used to grow new tooth tissues using stem cells. The technology allows growing full “tooth units” which can be successfully attached to jaw bones, as the experiments on lab mice have shown. Animals were able to use their teeth and chew all their daily meals, according to the report of the scientists in PLoS One (Public Library of Science).
Masamitsu Oshima, the study leader and assistant professor at the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, stressed in the report about the results of teeth transplantation to the animals that the teeth were absolutely similar to the natural teeth, including such elements as tooth enamel, nerves and blood vessels, and they are even sensitive to pain. ‘The bioengineered teeth were fully functional… there was no trouble (with) biting and eating food after transplantation,’ he wrote. Therefore, this technology can be effectively used by modern dental specialists to replace lost or damaged teeth.
The team leaded by Oshima and his fellow scientist, Professor Takashi Tsuji, used two types of stem cells in the labs to grew new teeth for the animals. To control the shape and length of teeth, they can be placed in a specific mould, where the process of growing teeth is carried out. In average, the process takes about 40 days. Then, the newly grown teeth were transplanted to the jaws of mice, and it was possible to receive great functionality. The scientists say that using this technique it is possible to grow any type of teeth.
Moreover, many experts stress on the importance of this discovery as they are sure that using the same technology it will be possible to grow not only teeth but all important body organs. Despite of such major disadvantage as very high cost of this technology (it is currently estimated that growing a stem cell tooth will cost to the customers the amount of money equal to about 2,000 British pounds), the experts are sure that within the time the technology will get cheaper and more advanced. However, they underline, it will take at least a decade or so to make it available (and properly tested) for the general public.