The conventional method of tooth restoration for teeth that are damaged (for instance, due to cavities, trauma, or gum decay) is the use of an artificial filling or a dental implant. New work done by researchers at Okayama University, however, has made progress in bioengineering a tooth and successfully implanting it into a mammal.
Using stem cell technology, the researchers first developed a tooth germ with the organ germ method, and then transplanted the tooth into mice to determine whether a healthy tooth would form. The trials proved successful, and both hard and soft tissues developed after several weeks. The same method was then applied to a larger mammal (a beagle), and promising signs of tooth restoration once again could be seen after 180 days.
This procedure could also be relevant to humans; scientists have identified immature wisdom teeth as a potential source of stem germ cells, which could drastically change the way we treat damaged teeth.