Forget the Tooth Fairy, Order a Biotooth
January 3rd, 2010
A group of British scientists claim that they have figured out a way to make dentures obsolete, with the power of stem cells. Simply put, stem cells taken from a patient will be used to grow a bunch of cells that will grow into a tooth. The cells will then be implanted in an incision in the patient’s gum. Even more amazing, the process of “nudging” the stem cells to turn into a “ball of cells” that will in turn become a tooth supposedly takes only two weeks. The scientists have formed a company, Odontis, to capitalize on their technique, and they are calling their (potential) product the BioTooth.
The scientists – led by, Prof. Paul Sharpe, a specialist in the field of regenerative dentistry at the Dental Institute of King’s College, London – also claim to have successfully tested the technique in mice. Based on The Guardian‘s article, however, it seems that although Sharpe’s team can coax the stem cells to become a tooth, they can’t force it to become a specific kind of tooth, like a molar or an incisor. Still, this is an amazing breakthrough. Bad news for the tooth fairy. And for people who make dentures.