Researchers Put Some Teeth Into Growing a Tooth

You know that dream where all your teeth fall out? Well, someday it may not feel like such a nightmare as science moves closer to growing a tooth.

Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki in Finland have identified a marker for dental stem cells in mice studies. Mice incisors, or front teeth, grow throughout life thanks to stem cells at the base of these teeth.

Human teeth don’t grow continuously, but the discovery of the marker, called transcription factor SOX2, in mice dental stem cells provides an excellent model for studying human dental stem cells. The mechanisms that control and regulate tooth growth in humans is similar to those in mice teeth.

The study’s authors are optimistic that their discovery could lead to the development of a bioengineered tooth, which may make it possible someday to replace lost teeth with ones grown from stem cells.

The American Dental Association has resources on diseases and conditions affecting the oral cavity, which can lead to tooth loss, and advice for caring for teeth on its consumer resource site MouthHealthy.org.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What Are The Different Parts Of A Tooth?

Each tooth has several distinct parts; here is an overview of each part:

  • Enamel – this is the outer and hardest part of the tooth that has the most mineralized tissue in the body. It can be damaged by decay if teeth are not cared for properly.

  • Dentin – this is the layer of the tooth under the enamel. If decay makes it through the enamel, it next attacks the dentin — where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the dental pulp.

  • Pulp – this is the soft tissue found in the center of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are located. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain and may require a root canal procedure.