Tooth regeneration redux

clockwork teethAnother 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]

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