The process of dental treatment and prosthetics is an unpleasant procedure and, moreover, rather expensive and carries the risk of rejection of the implanted foreign material. However, this problem may be solved thanks to the achievements of a group of Japanese doctors Takashi Tsuji from the University of Sciences in Tokyo. They managed to grow new teeth from stem cells, and right in the mouth.
At first, experiments carried out on laboratory mice made it possible to grow from embryonic mesenchymal and epithelial cells only embryos of teeth with a diameter of about 500 micrometers. Scientists in a certain way stimulated these stem cells, forcing them to multiply, and then injected into a collagen gel, where for several days the formation of embryos of teeth took place, which the researchers transplanted into empty wells in the mouth of mice.
However, they did not manage to grow more or less full-fledged teeth with normal structure and composition right away. But in the end, they were still able to improve the process so much that they began to obtain molars from such embryos, which had enamel, and dentin, and pulp, and blood vessels, and nerves, as well as the head and roots. New artificially created teeth turned out to be absolutely functional, in no way inferior to the real ones and perfectly coping with any food of mice.
The described achievement, undoubtedly, advances science a whole step forward and makes it possible to grow teeth in humans. But before that, it is necessary to establish a system for controlling the growth of certain types of teeth and the position of the masticatory tubercles on them. At this stage, it is still not possible to regulate either the overall size of the tooth (the experimental samples turned out to be somewhat smaller than the natural teeth of mice), or the width of its head, or the growth rate. The last aspect is associated with the fact that, unlike mice, human teeth grow in the gums for months or even years.
In addition, today the only source of stem cells for creating embryos of full-fledged teeth is embryos. And although this method is the simplest and most effective, it is not acceptable to people and is prohibited in many countries for ethical reasons. Therefore, in the future, it is planned to extract the much-needed cells using completely different resources (for example, skin cells or wisdom teeth) and, in order to avoid a repeated sampling procedure, store them frozen in special cryochambers.
Be that as it may, the technology proposed by Japanese medical scientists can create a real sensation in dentistry, allowing patients to finally abandon such uncomfortable bridges, various implants and crowns. Thanks to the new bio-teeth, it will be possible to avoid many unpleasant moments associated with prosthetics.
Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center, led by Professor Jeremy Mao, for growing new teeth of an anatomically correct shape directly in the patient’s mouth in a short time, suggested using frames implanted in the jawbone. However, this technique, in contrast to the previous approach, involves the use of foreign materials, since the frame is obtained by three-dimensional printing from two biocompatible polymers: hydroxyapatite and caprolactone.