Teeth, Heal Thyself

If you think of how dental technology has changed over the decades from the days of wooden dentures and boar-bristle toothbrushes, it’s pretty astounding. But for all the advances in how we care for and examine teeth, there has not been much change in the way we heal teeth - until now. That’s because scientists at King’s College in London are creating a self-regenerating tooth.

So far, the teeth have only been successfully grown in mice, but they are for all intents and purposes just like real, naturally grown teeth, says Dr. Gary Lederman, a dentist from North Bellmore, New York.

"These teeth are genetically engineered to have dentin and enamel just like our natural teeth. They are even connected up to real blood vessels and implanted into the gum like a natural tooth," Lederman says.

This is great news for anyone who currently has dentures, bridges, dental implants or simply is missing a tooth.

"Right now, there are some beautiful, realistic-looking crowns out there," says Lederman, "but there’s just no comparison to having your natural teeth."

So, what happens if these new teeth work on human subjects? Won’t that put dentists like Lederman out of business?

"Of course not," Lederman says. "You will still need to have those new teeth cleaned and examined, just like your natural teeth. You will still need X-rays, and to have your gums checked. Dentistry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon."



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