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Science Takes First Step Toward Regrowing Teeth

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An international team of researchers is fighting to retain healthy dentition. By harvesting stem cells from the pulp of healthy tissue, preliminary studies have been promising in demonstrating pulp regeneration in the lab. According to this article from the Wall Street Journal, researchers at Baylor and Rice used a "gelatin-like substance that is injected into the tooth and serves as a base into which pulp cells, blood vessels, and nerves grow." They hope to begin human trials within the next two or three years and develop a working treatment within five years.

Japanese researchers have been seeing initial success in a similar method, wherein researchers extracted and separated stem cells from the pulp itself before transplanting them back into the tooth cavity. The study, published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, was performed in dogs and showed promising results.

With an increasing focus on "minimally invasive dentistry", it seems that dentistry is moving toward a future that is based on preserving and regenerating healthy tissues, as opposed to the "drill and fill" mentality of removing and replacing dentition.

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