Have you ever thought about how dentists in the future will fix your teeth? If not, here’s some interesting new research being done at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC.
A research team led by Yang Chai, associate dean of research and director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology are looking into how tooth regeneration can be assisted by stem cells.
Mice never stop growing teeth so the idea of eventually using this as a stepping stone to learning how to do this with human cells. The work means that, one day a dentist might reach for a living tooth regenerated in a lab to replace a broken tooth.
Another area that researchers are looking into is enamel restoration. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. Research conducted by Janet Moradian-Oldak of the Ostrow School of USC have found a secret to regrowing tooth enamel.
Her research has found that an enzyme called MMP-20 found in the teeth play a key role in helping enamel grow correctly. The idea would be that a gel-filled mouthguard worn overnight could strengthen teeth and reduce their sensitivity.
Safeguarding your gums is another key component in restoring the bones in your jaw without further surgery. After tooth extraction, the gums surrounding the tooth root can be vulnerable to collapse. Research in preventing this comes from a team at the USC’s Ostrow School are developing an innovative rigid cage shaped like a tooth’s root which could be immediately placed in the space left after the tooth is removed.
These are just a few of the innovations that are on the horizon that could revolutionize dental care. It’s amazing to think that your dentist could just grow a new tooth for your or strengthen your teeth so they would never break.