It seems fairly obvious that the future of dentistry will be closely linked to the development of stem cell research. Stem cells are cells in the body that are unspecialized, meaning they can turn into any other cell in the human body. This of course has very far reaching implications for medicine, and thus, for dentistry as well. There were of course ethical issues to consider, as stem cells were being taken from aborted fetuses, so a lot of people who did not approve of abortion, such as moralizing christians and fundamentalist muslims, not to mention super orthodox jews, could not partake in the blessings of stem cells.
Luckily, we have found that the human body contains stem cells that can be rmeoved from it without the problem of murder rearing its ugly head. The bone marrows of humans and the blood found in the umbilical cord have stem cells in the, to give just two examples, and these can be retrieved in a way that no one gets hurt, and even vegans can use the product.
Stem Cells In Dentistry
Stem cells could change dentistry in two ways. One is that entire teeth can be grown out of stem cells. You can take some stem cells, grow the tooth you need and have that implanted instead of a dental implant. They have been cloning mouse teeth in this way and they seem to work, and crocodiles have a similar mechanism for regrowing their teeth. The toothy reptiles basically have some sack near their tooth which contains stem cells that can grow into teeth.
The other method involves reattaching your existing teeth to your jawbone with the use of stem cells. Basically, if a tooth is knocked out but still intact, or if you lose a tooth because of gum disease or because of diabetes, you can have that tooth be treated with stem cells and then it will be ready to be reattached into your gums. The tooth will anchor and fuse to its previous environment, and the stem cells will turn into cementum, gum lining and/or whatever necessary cells are needed.
Seeing as these typ?es of treatments are not as simple as getting, for instance, a dental implant, the process for getting these done would probably have to be an international effort. IN other words, you would have to have the stem cells drawn from your body in your home country, preserve it and have it frozen even, and bring it to the host country where they would treat your tooth or grow it for you, and then implant it for cheaper than in your home. The other way you could do this would be to have all of it done in the host country, and stay there in the meantime, requiring longer trips, perhaps. All things considered, this is still idle talk for now, as we do not know when this technology will be completed and ready to be used on a regular basis, but rest assured that when it does become available, agencies will have a plan worked out for their use.