Opinions, Research

Baby teeth can be used to make medicines!

smile-with-baby-teethNew research is constantly going on and studies in the world of medicine are rapid and profound. In dentistry, new research has come in that show promising results. It has been deduced that baby teeth contain stem cells and when used to make medicines they can be used to treat quite a few degenerative diseases like leukemia etc. This is the reason why many people in developed countries are banking baby teeth so that regenerative medicine can be produced and then used more frequently.

This practice of preserving baby teeth of children or young adults is known as cryopreserving of wisdom teeth and has been around for some 10 years or so. Even though it is as yet not too common, it is becoming more popular because of its many uses. The reason why this practice is becoming widespread is that research shows that stem cells in baby teeth can help to save lives in the future, be it for dental usage or other medicinal causes.

Stem cell treatment is the future. It can potentially be the difference of life and death for any people going through adverse conditions or diseases. But is it really as advantageous as it is hyped u to be? Some scientists and researchers don’t believe so. According to Ben Scheven senior lecturer in oral cell biology in the school of dentistry at the University of Birmingham “Research is still mostly in the experimental (preclinical) phase.” He went on to say, “Dental stem cells may provide an advantageous cell therapy for repair and regeneration of tissues someday.”

Dr. Pamela Robey of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research agrees that research is very progressive and promising but, she believes that there is still very little concrete evidence. She points out that there is still a long way to go before major breakthrough can be made.

Colleague of Dr. Robey, Songtao Shi conducted lots of research on wisdom teeth as well as baby teeth. They discovered that when there was a cavity, the tooth produced a substance known as dentin that filled up the hole in order to protect it. Below this is the pulp where lies nerve tissues and blood supply that provide nourishment to the tooth and gums. Shi deduced from his work that it was the molars that made dentin, not the baby teeth. They had different kind of properties. They not only made dentin, but none like structure too.

The process of stem cell extraction from the pulp is very critical and needs to be cautiously done. The people doing the process need to be very careful to make sure that no infection is mixed in. the stem cells are extracted with the aid of a drill. Scientists claim that small amounts of dental pulp can be used for millions of stem cells.

As per the instructions of the president of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Jade Miller “it’s critical that the nerve tissue in pulp tissue, the nerve supply and blood supply, still remain intact and alive.” He also said that, “Typically, the best baby teeth to harvest are the upper front six or lower front six — incisors and cuspids.”

If parents want to harvest their children’s teeth, they need to make their decision early on and enough their pediatrician so that proper measures can be taken in advance.

Even though the end decision is that of the parents and their children, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry “encourages dentists to follow future evidence-based literature in order to educate parents about the collection, storage, viability, and use of dental stem cells with respect to autologous regenerative therapies.”

 

April 29, 2017

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Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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