Just the sound of a dentist's drill is enough to send most people into a panic. Add to that the awful inconvenience of walking around for a day with half your face numb, and it's easy to see why getting a cavity filled or a tooth replaced is one of life's most annoying chores. Fortunately, some new research may make the common drill-and-fill a thing of the past.
A mouse in Japan has successfully regrown a lost molar from a genetically engineered tooth seed. Essentially composed of tooth stem cells, the seed grew into a fully functional tooth after only about a month and a half. The new tooth works far better than an inorganic implant, because it contains the same nerves and vascular connections as a natural tooth. As seen in the picture above, it has the additional optional feature of glowing green under ultraviolet light.
The scientists created the seed by placing a mixture of multipotent cells, a less variable type of undifferentiated stem cell, into an organ culture for a week. Once the ball of cells began to differentiate, the scientists surgically implanted the cell seed directly into a hole in the mouse's jaw. After that, the tooth was on its way.
With the technique perfected, its easy to imagine the dentist forgoing the drill and simply smearing a tooth stem cell concoction over a cavity, letting the tooth regrow itself. As someone who takes frequent and problematic trips to the dentist, I look forward to the day when the most painful part of a trip to the dentist is reading five-month-old issues of Us Weekly in the waiting room.
[via Pink Tentacle]
WOW! We can't get this tech fast enough. Great work!
get me some stem cells. yyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!!!
This is awesome, by the time I'm 50 this will forgo the need for dentures
I hate cavities!
I would love this. And I would like the glow in the dark version please. (Organic bling FTW!)
I am impressed for once medical science finally bypassed pain and annoyance, to give us something we actually need teeth! I lost all my teeth ten years ago and to tell the truth missing nuts the most...kinda hard to gum I hate fals teeth and wont wear them so this is my kind of medical tech breakthrough!
Great news, Stuart. No one likes the drill. I wonder if something similar might be created to help replace bone in and around the tooth to address periodontal disease.