Tooth Regeneration: A Reality of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering

by Dr. Chhavi Kapur Motwani on  September 14, 2011 at 4:04 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Modern trends in biomedical-engineering have arrived at what could have been thought to be the impossible few decades back. With the advances in Stem Cell research and medical bioengineering, waiting for a donor for an organ replacement would soon become history.
Tooth Regeneration: A Reality of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering
Tooth Regeneration: A Reality of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering

Currently, a donor organ becomes a necessity as it is considered to be the only common approach to the replacement of a dysfunctional, missing or diseased organ. But there have been new researches towards the synthesis or in other words regeneration of organs into functional mature organs using three-dimensional tissue engineering including biodegradable materials as well different as cell types. While this is the ultimate aim of regenerative tissue engineering, a lot of work still needs to be done to achieve this goal.

As an addition to the progress in organ regenerative therapy, one can now have a new tooth regenerated in the area of the missing tooth. This possibility has been clearly demonstrated in a recently concluded research conducted at the Research Institute of Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science. The team of researchers headed by Dr. Masamitsu Oshima demonstrated, in a first of its kind of research, the successful integration and function of an entire regenerated tooth unit. The tooth unit refers to the mature tooth, the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone which were successfully integrated into a hole in the lower jaw of a murine animal.

The entire tooth unit acts as a functional organ. The tooth is actively involved in chewing and masticatory functions while maintaining the balance and harmony of the jaw movements. The periodontal ligament surrounding the tooth maintains the vitality of the tooth and its surrounding structures and the alveolar bone refers to the bony socket structure which holds the tooth and the ligament in to the jaw bone.

Loss of a tooth can lead to functional and aesthetic problems such as loss of masticatory functions, problems in the tempro-mandibular joint and tilted or rotated surrounding teeth. One is aware of the already available alternatives to tooth replacement including dentures, bridges to implants. But those who have received any one of these prosthesis can certainly vouch for the fact that one cannot expect any responsiveness to noxious stimuli from them nor can they maintain any physiological well being of the surrounding tissues or structures.

The regenerated tooth unit from a tooth germ, on the other hand, has been proven by the Masamitsu and co- researchers in a new study, to respond to the noxious stimuli, maintain the physiological functions such as chewing, mastication and occlusion and even carry out the repair and regeneration processes in the surrounding recipient oral environment. In the near future, once a tooth is extracted it will be possible to have it regenerated. This will be major game changer in dentalcare. It will be like not having lost the tooth at all!

Source: Medindia

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