It is perhaps one of the most prominent faults of the human biological design, but our inability to heal or restore our own teeth may one day be nothing but a bad memory. Recent research into bioengineering has raised interest in the possibility of people being able to regrow their teeth from dental pulp and stem cells, putting an end to fillings and more invasive restorative procedures such as dental implants.
Throughout nature there are multitudes of animals that are capable of restoring damaged or lost dentition. For example, sharks have multiple rows of teeth and constantly grow new ones to replace those lost during hunting, preventing tooth loss from holding back their natural efficacy. So will this one day be an option for humans as well?
Many believe that human wisdom teeth are there to replace some of the teeth that we lose in later life. However, why humans have not evolved to restore our own teeth when we can heal our own bones, skin and other parts of our body is somewhat of a blip in our design. While this does guarantee the existence of the dental profession, it also means that for millions of us dental treatments are a necessity, especially in later life.
If this innovative research into bioengineering teeth does take off it could revolutionize oral care, and dentistry forever. Of course this is all future prophesy at this point, and even if this does become the norm it’s likely that people will still prefer to retain their natural dentition and seek the specialist help of professionals in order to keep their teeth healthy – so no need to seek a new profession yet!
Regardless of the outcome, it’s fascinating what strides forward science and dentistry are making and how these may affect our profession in the future. As such, professionals need to stay up to date with all of the latest innovations. This way we can see how dentistry is evolving and keep ahead of the curve so that both we, and our patients, can benefit from knowledge that can really make a difference.