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Posts Tagged ‘dental stem cells’

Will Dental Stem Cells Provide a Permanent Alternative to Dental Implants?

In Dental Implants on July 14, 2011 at 4:30 AM

When it comes to a missing tooth or teeth, dental implants are often the preferred method of permanent tooth replacement. A dental bridge or a complete set of shiny new dentures could be the not so permanent alternative…if you let your oral health fall by the wayside.

A new tooth replacement option could be in the works, at least judging from recent news out of Japan.

According to an article published this week from DrBicuspid.com, scientists in Japan said on Wednesday they have created teeth — complete with  connective fibers and bones — by using mouse stem cells and successfully transplanted them into mice, a step they hope will lead to progress in stem cell research.

“The bioengineered teeth were fully functional … there was no trouble (with) biting and eating food after transplantation,” wrote Masamitsu Oshima, assistant professor at the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science.

Another way science and technology are coming together to improve our oral health.

Although the thought of a completely new set of Steve Austin chompers is probably more than several years off, the research and continued testing is the foundation from which all of us as dental patients will ultimately benefit.

Dental stem cells are immature, unspecialized cells in the body that are able to grow into specialized cell types by a process known as “differentiation.” There are two primary sources of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in many organs and tissues in the human body, including the dental pulp contained within teeth. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to grow into any cell type in the body.

However, there is great ethical controversy regarding obtaining and using these stem cells for medical research and treatment purposes.

Until recently, it was thought that adult stem cells could only turn into cells that were the same as those in the tissues and organs in which they were found. It is now known that adult stem cells taken from one area of the body can be transplanted into another area and grown into a completely different type of tissue.

This ability to grow and regenerate tissues is the focus of the emerging field of personalized medicine, which uses a patient’s own stem cells for biologically compatible therapies and individually tailored treatments. (Source: DentistryIQ.com)

So, dental stem cells are outside the controversial embryonic stem cell argument.

Does all of this seem to sci-fi for you, or do you consider dental stem cells a possible future solution to permanently replacing missing teeth?

(Sources: DentistryIQ.com), DrBicuspid.com)

 

Stem Cells to Relieve Mouth and Face Pain?

In TMJ on July 12, 2011 at 4:30 AM

With technological advancements come new ways for the dental and medical communities to figure out how to make – and keep – us healthy. The application of stem cells for use in medicine has long been a pointed subject, sure to generate a debate even amongst the most impartial audience.

Dental stem cells, and the use or application of them in dentistry or medicine is not a debate we’re looking to sow here. Rather, we just aim to highlight the recent advancements in stem cell application that can benefit us, as dental patients.

Research into the harvesting and application of dental stem cells is still a relatively new field of study.

Some scientists, researchers, and doctors say we should run right out and start banking our stem cells wherever possible. Others of the same ilk recommend we wait for more research to prove the long-term viability of collecting and using dental stem cells.

Fact is, the use of dental stem cells has not yet been approved by the FDA. Until these two divergent politically influenced sectors of the stem cell argument join forces to improve health care rather than increase health care propaganda, we as the dental patient public are held in limbo.

Will dental stem cells enable us to instantaneously relieve pain, or generate a new tooth in a petri dish?

According to this article on stem cells and dentistry published last week from DentistryIQ;  Research from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine shows for the first time that a particular type of stem cell, bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs), can suppress orofacial pain rapidly — within one day of treatment — by either IV injection of cells or direct injection of cells to the injured site.

That sounds like very promising – although admittedly preliminary – results.

The DentistryIQ article goes on to mention how, in rat models, the pain never came back after stem cell injection. But in the untreated group, the pain lasted up to 22 weeks, or the length of the experimental period.

The Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine researchers simulated two types of pain: myogenic pain (by ligating, or tying up, the masticatory muscle tendon) and neuropathic pain (by tying up the nerve on the face).

Stem cells successfully reduced pain in both cases.

As noted in the article you can read here, clinical trials to treat recalcitrant orofacial pain is the next step toward the widespread application of what could be the biggest dental breakthrough since the invention of the toothbrush.

For more dental stem cell info, click over to this article on stem cells and dentistry, written by Bruce
G. Freund, DDS.

You can also click here to see the wealth of stem cell info provided by the National Institute of Health!

Growing New Teeth from Dental Stem Cells?

In Dental Products on May 5, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According the always visible and mostly reliable Wikipedia, stem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide through mitosis and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells that are found in various tissues.

Make sense?

Basically stem cells act as an internal repair system in our bodies, regenerating cells, tissue, and even organs. Although the science and research is still evolving, dental stem cells could represent a quantum leap in our normal everyday dental care.

In 2000, scientists with the National Institute of Health discovered stem cells in both baby teeth and wisdom teeth. The NIH also points out; dental stem cells are adult stem cells, not the controversial and often debated embryonic stem cells. In addition, dental stem cells are a lot easier to obtain and less invasive than bone marrow stem cells.

Will it be possible to actually grow a new healthy tooth to replace a missing one?

As reported  by a recent Provia Labs press release, although experiments in growing new teeth remain early-stage research, other applications of dental stem cells have already been demonstrated in human studies. These cells have been successfully used to regrow jawbone and treat periodontal disease.

One of the leaders in the world of dental stem cells is Dr. Paul Sharpe, a recent speaker at The First International Conference on Dental and Craniofacial Stem Cells that took place last week in New York City.

“In the future we envision,” explains Dr. Sharpe, “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.”

Store-A-Tooth™, a division of Provia Labs, goes on to mention how scientists and clinicians are investigating many additional uses for dental stem cells, from treating root canals to even regenerating whole new teeth. The earliest applications for dental stem cells are expected to be the repair of damaged tooth structures and craniofacial defects, bone regeneration, and possibly the treatment of neural tissue injury or degenerative diseases.

The Store-A-Tooth website goes on to mention how dental stem cells are also being studied as a way to help treat a number of medical diseases and conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Stroke
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Liver disease
  • Cornea repair
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s

Is this all too far away to imagine a practical application of dental stem cells?

Should we all start banking away our dental stem cells for future withdrawal?

How say you?

For more information about stem cells, visit the National Institutes of Health’s Stem Cell Information page at http://stemcells.nih.gov/info.