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Regrowing teeth with a laser? It’s the next frontier!
According to the latest estimates, about 80 to 90% of the world population suffers or suffered at least once in their lifetime of a dental illness. The most common dental infections include cavities and gum disease. In most cases, when bacteria attack teeth and cause caries what happens is that the tooth starts being eaten out. If the cavity progresses with time, the bacteria will infect the inner part of the tooth, the pulp, causing sever damages that might not be reversible. That means that once you do get some treatment, this may involve having your tooth devitalised (taking the pulp out), cleaned and restored to its form with biocompatible materials. Now, can you imagine what would happen if there was a way to regrow damaged parts of a tooth?

Apparently, that is the new frontier in regenerative medicine and it’s closer to be conquered than you might think. Using a low power laser to stimulate stem cells to produce dentin, the part of the tooth that’s right underneath the tooth’s enamel, the scientists have partly succeeded in their intent. However, the experiments were carried out in labs and involved mice and rats. There is still a long way to go before we get the lasers to grow our teeth out, but, the future looks quite promising. What the researchers are currently dealing with is 2 types of problems:

1. They still haven’t figured out how to regenerate enamel.
2. It’s very difficult to pin point the right amount of laser power that is needed when used on a human, as too low will not work and too high may cause even more damages.

Basically, it’s all about taking out stem cells from a human body, play with it and manipulate them until you get to grow the tissue that you wanted and then put it back in the patient. The benefits of growing stem cells into whatever tissue you need are simply huge. In dentistry, that would mean that when you loose a tooth or the latter is severely damaged, instead of extracting it or needing a replacement, you could just grow it out!

Hopefully, we will have more exciting developments to announce in relation to these experiments in the following months!