Biological Substitute for Dental Implants?
Work at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Holds Promise for a Biological Substitute for Dental Implants, According to Latest Journal of Dental Research
New York – A technique pioneered in the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, can orchestrate stem cells to migrate to a three-dimensional scaffold infused with growth factor, holding the translational potential to yield an anatomically correct tooth in as soon as nine weeks once implanted.
People who have lost some or all of their adult teeth typically look to dentures, or, more recently, dental implants to improve a toothless appearance that can have a host of unsettling psycho-social ramifications.
An animal-model study has shown that by homing stem cells to a scaffold made of natural materials and integrated in surrounding tissue, there is no need to use harvested stem cell lines, or create an environment outside of the body (e.g., a Petri dish) where the tooth is grown and then implanted once it has matured. The tooth instead can be grown “orthotopically,” or in the socket where the tooth will integrate with surrounding tissue in ways that are impossible with hard metals or other materials.