The researchers took induced pluripotent stem cells (or iPS for short) from human urine and grew them into skin-like sheets. They then combined the iPS sheets with mouse dental mesenchymes, the fetal tissue that will eventually develop into mouse teeth, and found that the iPS were differentiating into enamel-secreting ameloblasts, cells that help your teeth grow. They observed tooth-like structures had appeared on the sheets in about 30% of cases.
An Inefficient, but Noninvasive Approach to Obtaining Stem Cells
Some researchers have objected to the method of using urine as the source of iPS, noting that iPS can be obtained in many different ways, often in larger quantities than using urine. However, others have noted that this represents a completely noninvasive way to get these cells from children, who might otherwise have to have them extracted with a needle.
Other researchers have noted that the main difficulty in replacing human teeth is not in finding suitable replacement materials. After all, dental implants are great alternative materials that are attractive and durable. The true benefit of growing replacement teeth would be in being able to grow them in the mouth and, especially, to regrow the periodontal ligament, which holds the tooth in place.
There are many researchers looking to regrow lost teeth using different techniques, but until they achieve the ultimate goal of regrowing your teeth in place, we can help you protect your current teeth and, if they are lost, replace them with the best technology currently available.