Despite the advances in toothpaste, tooth care and dentistry, dental problems remain one of the most common issues facing the Western world today. Most of us have experienced teeth complications at some point in our life. Considering the important role your teeth play, many of us are ready to do whatever it takes to retain a healthy set of teeth and avoid the dreaded dentures! Losing a tooth is not a good experience especially when you’re fully aware that there’s no chance for a new adult tooth to grow and replace the old one. The sad fact is that many people think that having to have surgery or losing their teeth is a natural consequence of periodontitis or gum disease and only visit a periodontal expert when it’s too late. Periodontal disease and gum disease can very often be reversed, without the need for painful surgery or having to have your teeth extracted. That said, as with most diseases, the chances of a successful prognosis are best if you start your periodontal treatment services as early as possible.
Recent breakthroughs in research may now mean that quite soon it could literally be possible for your dentist or a periodontal expert to grow you new teeth if yours get diseased. This would mean one day dentures could become a thing of the past! Scientists are currently working on a project, due to unveiled at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, that could hopefully give your cells the ability to grow new teeth to replace the ones your periodontal specialist was unable to save. Of course this research is still in the very early stages but it would represent a massive advance in periodontal treatment services and the prognosis of patients in the advanced stages of periodontal disease.
Scientists have discovered that for Nature to grow new teeth, two different types of cells are required: epithelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells. One cell must send a message to the other cell to start the process of creating teeth. The goal of the researchers is now to find a way to replicate this cell production. If they can do this, periodontal specialists may one day indeed be able to grow you new teeth ‘on demand’ to replace yours if they fall out. Whilst it’s not time to throw away your dentures just yet, scientists hope that they can begin growing teeth in mice within the next five years.
In the past, the high costs of implants have deterred many people from replacing their lost teeth. Furthermore, implants carry the additional complication that they cannot be guaranteed to last for any significant period of time. This new research would negate all of this, making growing new teeth not only possible but affordable.
Using this new approach, a periodontal specialist would be able to not only successfully treat periodontal disease in the early and chronic stages, but work towards helping their patients to grow new teeth in extremely advanced cases where bone loss is too severe to save your current teeth.
Researchers have long known that shark and snake teeth are always replaced after a tooth breaks or falls out. They have also found that stem cells in adult bone marrow can produce other types of tissues—albeit only for 24 hours, so the notion of a periodontal expert being able to grow you new teeth in the future is not as far-fetched as it may sound. The goal now is to find a way of awakening the cell properties in a way that will sustain the ability to grow teeth for longer periods of time.
Will your dentist or periodontal specialist soon be able to grow you a new set of teeth to replace yours when they fall out? Quite possibly, but meanwhile patients are advised to stick with the more conventional methods of treatment that your current periodontal expert will be able to advise!
As well as lecturing around the world on advances in periodontal treatment services, Dr. Peter Galgut offers a referral programme to dentists. He is also happy to answer your periodontal questions and offers appointments at his private London clinic. To contact Dr Galgut and find out more about his work, please visit: https://periodontal.co.uk/ask-a-dentist/
If you are a dentist, or you would like your dentist to refer you to a periodontal specialist, please use this link: https://periodontal.co.uk/professional-services/
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