The group believe that they’ve found a way to have the body’s stem cells migrate to a three-dimensional scaffold made of natural material and placed in a patient’s mouth. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue. Essentially, they believe that they could build a tooth much like you build a structure, but with your body proving the bricks. The result? A new anatomically correct tooth in as little as nine weeks.
The results were published in the Journal of Dental Research (JADA), a top publication in the field of dentistry in 2010. The experiment is explained as follows:
“In each of 22 rats, they implanted an incisor scaffold orthotopically in mandibular incisor extraction pockets and a human molar scaffold ectopically in the dorsum.”
“They then infused the scaffolds’ microchannels with two growth factors. They also implanted growth-factor–free control scaffolds.”
“After nine weeks, they found that periodontal ligament–like fibrous tissue and new bone regenerated where the rat incisor scaffolds interfaced with native alveolar bone. The human molar scaffolds showed integration and tissue ingrowth. Researchers also found that the growth factors recruited significantly more endogenous cells and led to greater angiogenesis than did the growth-factor–free control scaffolds.”