Cloning new teeth: say “Baaaa!”
It’s scary to think that 70 per cent of adults aged 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to decay.
But given the high sugar content of our Western diet, it’s not all that surprising. Forking out for porcelain veneers or prohibitively expensive dental implants isn’t always viable. So, imagine if, just like Dolly the cloned sheep, you could simply grow a new cloned one… Well, it’s about to become a reality. Led by endodontics professor Dr Peter Murray, scientists at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, US, are now cloning new teeth using stem cells. Taking human stem cells from the mouth or bone marrow, they grow and then harvest them in their lab, before ‘seeding’ the cells onto three-dimensional re-absorbable polymer lattices for the teeth to form upon. Implanted in the subjects’ mouths, they’ll reach full growth in a few months. Result? A brand-spankin’-new set of pearly whites!