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Research Assessment#6

Date:​ ​January 4, 2018

Subject:​ ​Regenerative Dentistry

MLA or APA citation​: ​“The Promise of Growing New Teeth.” ​Tufts Now​, 25 Apr.



When I discovered this article, I was extremely baffled at how far the technology

has progressed over the years that now we have gotten near to actually having the ability

to regrow our teeth. Of Course, not many people are aware of Regenerative Dentistry

because it is still in the trial stages and there is a while before this method can replace

Restorative Dentistry. Restorative Dentistry is the basic method still used today for

filling and cavities where they try to preserve and save as much of the tooth as possible.

On the other hand, Regenerative Dentistry can work in the form of lasers or a unique

type of filling that can regrow parts around part of the tooth inevitably wrapping around

the cavity creating a protective seal and stopping decay.

Another “simpler” process is really complex but even more fascinating based on

the fact that they are utilizing an experimental Alzheimer’s drug. Specifically called,

Tideglusib which controls the switch for GSK-3. It is very compelling how a drug

currently used for memory improvement contains an essential enzyme, GSK-3 that

helps our body produce dentine (a bony tissue formed beneath the enamel). The next

part is for the collagen(protein) sponges to absorb all the Tideglusib that had already
been placed in the cavity. Then, incredibly enough the body will start to regenerate

brand new dentine replacing the previous collagen the body has absorbed.

So far we have only discussed how to fix a cavity/filling with Regenerative

Dentistry. Surprisingly, enough scientist are actually working on growing entire tooth. I

have heard doctors growing skins or even organs from stem cells, but even when it

comes to teeth they are using the same process.

This process is also quite lengthy because scientists have to first have to harvest

healthy stem cells from a person and then individually isolate them in the lab. The stem

cells are then gradually manipulated into tooth buds a controlled environment. Tooth

buds are small groups of soft tissue that will eventually develop into a mature tooth.The

best way to describe a tooth bud is like an embryo because it needs to be given the right

amount of nutrients to fully evolve into a mature tooth or the whole experiment will fail.

This could have really benefited me when I was a child because didn't take decent

care of my teeth and as a result, I grew up with numerous filling and cavities.

Regenerative Dentistry still is going through its trail phrase and Tideglusib could have

major side effects on the human body. The possibilities are quite endless with this type

of technology in the hands of inquisitive dentists. These stem cells can also improve the

lives of many people with jaw injuries and diseases. On top of that, Professor Yeilck and

her colleagues are currently working on a “universal cells” that can adapt to many

different types oral tissue when necessary.

Article starts on page 3 and ends on page 5

The Promise of Growing New Teeth
Dental stem cells could revolutionize treatment for patients who face


If you could implant living, vascularized teeth in the jaw, that could be a much better option than
dentures or atificial implants, says Pam Yelick. Illustration: Stuart Bradford

By David Levin

April 25, 2016

Losing teeth is part of childhood. For adults, however, missing molars or broken

incisors require a manmade solution in the form of dentures or implants. Using dental stem

cells to grow new teeth and jawbone would have advantages over existing tooth-replacement
techniques, and could even be used to reconstruct a patient’s jaw after a severe injury or

disease, according to a researcher at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine who is trying to do

just that.

Pam Yelick, G89, a professor of orthodontics and director of the division of

craniofacial and molecular genetics, and her colleagues are developing ways to grow healthy

new teeth and bone from dental stem cells—a type of “universal cell” that can morph into

many different types of oral tissue. After harvesting the stem cells from healthy adult tooth

pulp, Yelick’s team isolates them in the lab and gradually coaxes them into forming new

tooth buds, the tiny clusters of soft tissue that eventually grow into a mature tooth.

It’s a revolutionary new way of treating damaged or missing teeth. Tooth buds, she

says, are incredibly complex—they form only in conditions that mimic an embryonic jaw, in

which bone, tooth, soft palate and gums are beginning to take shape.

Using stem cells is also a better solution than dentures, which some patients find

uncomfortable, or fixed titanium implants, which “create a totally artificial situation,” Yelick


Because an implant can’t move, the repeated impact of chewing is transferred

directly to the jawbone and surrounding teeth, causing gradual bone loss. “If you could

instead implant living, vascularized tooth in the jaw, that could be a much better option,”

says Yelick, who also holds faculty appointments at the Sackler School of Graduate

Biomedical Sciences, the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering at Tufts.

Just as in a developing human embryo, dental stem cells must receive the right

mixture of nutrients and growth hormones at precisely the right times. It’s nearly
impossible to do that in petri dish, however. Instead, for the cells to grow into tooth bud

tissue, they’re placed on a “scaffold,” a biological environment that mimics the

three-dimensional structure of tooth buds as they form in an embryo.

Getting that structure just right is a big part of Yelick’s challenge. For the cells to

grow effectively, the scaffold needs to have the exact shape and elasticity of real embryonic


Her team is still experimenting with designing the right scaffold, testing materials

ranging from polyester to silk—which can be formed into complex structures, yet degrades

easily in the body—to find the best configuration.

Their work looks promising. Over the past several years, Yelick and her research

team have used these scaffolds to develop tooth buds, implanted them in pig jaws and

watched them develop into early-stage adult teeth over the course of five months. It’s an

encouraging sign, but she quickly notes that it will be years before we will be able to grow

our own replacement teeth.