Losing a permanent tooth can have a lasting effect on anyone. Fortunately, dental implants have provided a solution that is cost effective, fairly immediate, and relatively comfortable. There are few drawbacks to the tradtional tooth-replacement method that are typically accepted, as the reward of a new tooth far outweighs the risks. For example, the healing process may last from 3-9 months with a failure rate from 5-10%, depending on the health and quality of bone of the patient. Also, dental implants are typically estimated to last between 15-20 years, an acceptable time range. And while these “risks” don’t deter most from receiving an implant, there is a new dental technique that may eliminate them, according to the 1888 Press Release article, “New Stem Cell Technology Grows Implant Teeth, Right in Your Mouth-Will Dental Implants Bite the Dust.”
Recently, researchers have discovered that stem cells exist in teeth, and the dental and medical implications are huge. This information may allow cosmetic dentists to grow missing teeth directly inside a patient’s mouth as an alternative to more conventional dental implants. Researchers have been able to extract stem cells from wisdom teeth that have been removed. These cells have the capability to reproduce and develop other tissues, such as skin, cartilage, and bone. There have been reports of a fully formed replacement tooth growing in a nine week period, after stem cells were implanted at a jawbone site. These new teeth are also able to adapt to changes in the jaw over time, eliminating any follow-up adjustments or replacements.
There are several research projects currently underway in an effort to develop this new technique, and it is likely that this option will not be commercially available for several years to come. While this development is extremely interesting and exciting, it’s very fortunate that the traditional method of tooth replacement is so effective.