Grow-your-own to replace false teeth

By | March 17, 2009

The British institution of dentures sitting in a glass of water beside the bed could be rendered obsolete by scientists who are confident that people will soon be able to replace lost teeth by growing new ones.

Instead of false teeth, a small ball of cells capable of growing into a new tooth will be implanted where the missing one used to be.

The procedure needs only a local anaesthetic and the new tooth should be fully formed within a few months of the cells being implanted.

Paul Sharpe, a specialist in the field of regenerative dentistry at the Dental Institute of King’s College, London, says the new procedure has distinct advantages over false teeth that require a metal post to be driven into the jaw before being capped with a porcelain or plastic tooth.

“The surgery today can be extensive and you need to have good solid bone in the jaw and that is a major problem for some people,” Professor Sharpe said.

The method could be used on far more patients because the ball of cells that grows into a tooth also produces bone that anchors to the jaw.

The choice of growing a new tooth is likely to appeal to patients. “Anyone who has lost teeth will tell you that, given the chance, they would rather have their own teeth than false ones,” said Prof Sharpe. The average Briton over 50 has lost 12 teeth from a set of 32.

The procedure is fairly simple. Doctors take stem cells from the patient. These are unique in their ability to form any of the tissues that make up the body. By carefully nurturing the stem cells in a laboratory, scientists can nudge the cells down a path that will make them grow into a tooth. After a couple of weeks, the ball of cells, known as a bud, is ready to be implanted. Tests reveal what type of tooth – for example, a molar or an incisor – the bud will form.

Using a local anaesthetic, the tooth bud is inserted through a small incision into the gum. Within months, the cells will have matured into a fully-formed tooth, fused to the jawbone. As the tooth grows, it releases chemicals that encourage nerves and blood vessels to link up with it.

Tests have shown the technique to work in mice, where new teeth took weeks to grow. “There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work in humans, the principles are the same,” said Prof Sharpe.

His team has set up a company, Odontis, to exploit the technique, and has won £400,000 from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and the Wellcome Trust.

via Grow-your-own to replace false teeth | UK news | The Guardian.

This was from 2004. Where is this research now, five years later? From wikipedia:

It’s estimated that it may take until 2009 before the technology is widely available to the general public, but the genetic research scientist behind the technique, Professor Paul Sharpe of King’s College, estimated the method could be ready to test on patients by 2007.[17] His startup company, Odontis, fully expects to offer tooth replacement therapy by year 2015-2018[18]

This is from 2006:

Having tested the potential of various cell types, the researchers found that adult stem cells derived from bone marrow can replace embryonic mesenchyme in the tooth formation process. Other research suggests that progenitor stem cells capable of generating a variety of tooth tissues, including enamel, could be present within teeth themselves.

What is the current status? The Odontis web site says this as of March 17, 2009.

We receive many enquiries from people who wish to volunteer for clinical trials of the BioToothTM or are seeking advice on potential treatment options. The BioToothTM technology is still under development and it will be several years before we are in a position to start initial clinical trials in humans. We are therefore not seeking volunteers for clinical trials at this stage and are not holding a waiting list of volunteers.

Any further information will be posted on this website.

Frustratingly, it looks like Professor Sharpe’s estimate of human tests was off by a few years. 🙁

16 thoughts on “Grow-your-own to replace false teeth

  1. linda bollinger

    i would like to know how i can volunteer for the clinical trials for growing your own teeth. thank you linda

  2. bobmcfarlane

    this miracle cure for teeth has been tantalising us poor edentulous people since 2004
    it seems always to be just a few years away.
    The hope is killing us!
    Given the millions of people who could benefit from this treatment and the money that could be made from it I am surprised that there is only one main research body in the UK doing the study
    Please please ask the tooth fairy for a breakthrough

  3. Mr. G

    Are there any procedures that one should not have done to be a good candidate for this in the future?

  4. susan greenfield

    I have been told by a couple of dentists I have the worst teeth they have seen in a country that isnt third world.
    I have suffered with gum disease from child hood the enamel is worn away from years of anorexia.

    all my teeth are falling out and breaking off at the gum.

    I have had partial plates that are no longer useable due to movement of my teeth.

    I looked into implants once the cost was astronomical and not an option for me as i have thinning bones and was told it was possible my jaw would splinter.

    I have to look into full plates but i came across your add and am now thinking there may be a better alternative.

    please send me any more information you can

    susan greenfield

  5. mr.n

    The people I know who have false teeth. I will be hopefully joining them soon. Regard getting rid of their real teeth to be one of the happiest days of their lives and would hate to have real teeth again. Seriously what kind pathetic fool would want to go through all the hassle and pain of real teeth after getting the chance to get rid of them?

    1. Josephine Kreuger

      That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. After a while dentures are torture. Once your mouth changes they become a foreign object in your mouth. I have seen many without bottoms because they become a huge problem painful and they don’t stay in.especially when you eat. They need to be replaced every4 years our so. If I had the chance to have new healthy real teeth I would do almost anything

  6. john hopper

    hi i have only 2 teeth left in my upper jaw i now will have to get false ones.if anybody knows now or in the future if there are any trials,or anybody in the world that are using this grow your own teeth technology.could you please post a comment thank you john.

  7. yentl

    is the operation painful? im wondering if it is also recommended to a 16 yr old. i dont know how much it cost here in the Philippines. i dont want to have a false teeth its kinda embarrassing. and how long will the teeth grow?

  8. hue

    hello guys.

    the best way to heal your gums and teeth is doing feeling medidation. this will heal your gums and teeth decay and will make it stronger.

  9. billy jook

    I have type 1 diabetes, would it be possible for people with illnesses such as mine to have their teeth replaced or would their treatment prohibit the endeavour?

  10. allison tickner

    i would like to know how i can volunteer for clinical trials for growing your own teeth allison tickner

  11. Ryon

    I was born with a Flouride Deficiency and have been facing rotting teeth my entire life. I currently have no top front teeth and Military Dentists won’t work on me because they say its my fault that my teeth are rotting(military dentists are dumb). Would I be a possible cantidate for this procedure?

    1. Xeno Post author

      Fluoride weakens teeth. Your rotting teeth are the result of having a bacteria that makes acid when you eat sugar, along with fluoride treatments you were given by misinformed dentists.

      I had 10 cavities when I started researching this years ago and I haven’t had a cavity in years. Get some tea tree oil mouthwash to kill the bacteria at least once a day. Eat raw organic cashews instead of sweet snack. No more sodas.

      I don’t know of any human trials to regrow teeth just yet, but I hope for some soon.

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