Another year, another “regrow your own body parts” story, this one coming from the ever popular domain of dentistry (a field which we have covered before on Futurismic). This time out, the Washington Post jovially informs us that wisdom teeth are a source of stem cells that could be used to regrow and replace missing teeth throughout our adult lives. [image by greefus groinks]
It’s a nuisance, but researchers are closing in on it. In fact, they think the tooth will probably be the first complex organ to be completely regenerated from stem cells. In part this is because teeth are easily accessible — say ahhhhh. So are adult stem cells, found abundantly in both wisdom and baby teeth — no embryos required, and your immune system won’t reject your own cells.
Nobody is predicting when the first whole tooth will be grown in a human, although five to 10 years is a common guess.
Only a decade to wait, then. But knowing dentists, they’ll probably still find a reason to assault your dignity, pain threshold and wallet all at once. Not that I’m bitter or anything. [via SlashDot]
I feel sure we linked a story similar to this some time ago, but as a person with a deep and abiding mistrust of dentists (which has more to do with unnecessary work and overcharging than discomfort, to be fair), the news that scientists believe they are close to discovering a way to “remineralize” decayed teeth as an alternative to drillin’ and fillin’ is music to my ears. [image by Ian Hsu]
That having been said, I’d be willing to deal with drilling if it meant I could get a Bluetooth (arf!) microphone installed in my grill. Bam! [via grinding.be]
Anyone who, like myself, has suffered indignity and discomfort (and a serious dent to the bank balance) at the hands of the dentistry profession will probably be overjoyed to hear that scientists have discovered a way to cause the regrowth of teeth in mice. This indicates that the ability to regenerate dentition may still be dormant in human DNA as well, which is definitely something to smile about.
Hot on the heels of our last newsflash for orthodontiphobes, another new device promises to make your next bout of oral engineering a less painful one. A Dutch inventor proposes replacing the traditional dental drill with a ‘plasma needle’, a device that despite being cold and painless to the touch will kill dead cells and cauterise the surroundings. Now there’s something to smile about.
I dread dentistry. It’s painful, undignified and frighteningly expensive – having a tooth replaced with a cap or bridge can cost a month’s salary, and it’s never as good as the real thing. So I’m hoping this ultrasound device that stimulates the regrowth of dental tissue works out well, and heads to these shores as soon as possible. Anything that means I could avoid having root canal surgery for a third time is more than alright in my books.