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
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.
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!