Naturally grown teeth could replace implants
Researchers believe they have identified cells responsible for the formation of human dental tissue.
The team of Russian and Japanese tissue scientists and dentists say the study heralds the development of bioengineering techniques aimed at growing new teeth for patients.
They used human prenatal tissues to study early stage development of the embryonic oral cavity during the period when the teeth were set up, from the fifth to sixth week. The team identified several cell types involved in the formation of dental enamel.
“Numerous attempts to grow teeth from only the stem cells involved in the development of enamel, dentin and pulp, i.e. ameloblasts and odontoblasts, were not successful,” said Ivan Reva, Senior Researcher of the Laboratory for Cell and Molecular Neurobiology at the Far Eastern Federal University’s School of Biomedicine. “There was no enamel on the samples, teeth were covered only by defective dentin. The absence of an easily accessible source of cells for growing dental tissue seriously restricts the development of a bioengineering approach to dental treatment.
“To develop technologies of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, promising methods of treatment in dentistry, the cells identified by us may become the clue to the new level of quality dental treatment.
“Natural implants that are completely identical to human teeth will no doubt be better than titanium ones, and their lifespan can be longer than that of artificial ones, which are guaranteed for 10-15 years. Although for a successful experiment, we still have a lack of knowledge about intercellular signalling interactions during the teeth development.”