Growing Teeth: A New Dental Frontier

 
Kids reach many milestones as they grow, including frequent visits from the tooth fairy. A series of developmental steps cause baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to replace them. But sometimes adults lose permanent teeth from disease or trauma. Modern dentistry presents options for every unfortunate scenario, restoring full function and appearance. We enjoy techniques and materials today for tooth replacement not available in previous generations. Yet dental scientists continue their reach for new horizons and innovative possibilities.

Tufts School of Dental Medicine researchers are harvesting stem cells that grow new teeth and jaw bone. These “universal cells,” taken from inside healthy adult teeth, differentiate into tooth buds. But this intricate process of cellular differentiation only takes place under conditions that replicate an embryonic jaw. Growth hormones and nutrients must stimulate development at exactly the right times. As a result, new teeth won’t grow in a petri dish. They need a precise framework, one which the Tufts researchers continue to design.

Progress Continues

The Tuft’s team recently constructed a cellular matrix that allows successful implantation of a tooth bud into a pig’s jaw. Under their design, early adult-stage teeth develop within five months. But the transfer from pigs to humans requires significant advancements yet to come. Researchers project that humans won’t profit from these developments for another ten years. The exciting progress hints at options once believed to be impossible.

In the meantime, dental implants offer the closest alternative to growing new teeth. Titanium pieces placed into the jawbone mimic tooth roots that support life-like porcelain crowns. And research has brought major benefits to implant technology as well. Specialized coatings and modified designs help produce outstanding integration success, while 3D imaging technology allows precise planning of every case.

A Cavity Disappearing Act

Another intriguing frontier in dental research involves dental fillings that stimulate teeth to repair their own damage. Decayed parts of teeth usually are drilled out and restored with various materials. But researchers at Nottingham and Harvard University recently earned recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry for their innovative approach.

These teams created a filling material that stimulates stem cells to grow dentin, the firm inner layer of every tooth. They’ve also demonstrated the ability to regenerate the internal nerve and blood vessel center of teeth, the pulp. This part of the tooth usually undergoes root canal treatment when it’s infected. Widespread regenerative procedures are a few years off. But these materials could revolutionize the treatment of some common dental problems.

We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.
– Kyle Vining. Fellow, Harvard University
 

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Stay Tuned

Research keeps moving dentistry into fascinating new frontiers with solutions once considered impossible. Dental stem cells open doors to future procedures that will someday be commonplace. But you don’t have to wait for life-changing dentistry: Implants and bio-compatible restorative materials now offer modern options for full function and beauty. The Kirkland Dentistry team constantly monitors our profession for developments that enhance your experience.

 


We look forward to discussing the fascinating world of biomedical research in dentistry with you at future visits!

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Smile Your Best Smile with These Three Cosmetic Dental Technologies

Did you know that the earliest dental filling, found in Slovenia, is from 4,500 BCA, and was made of beeswax? Dentistry has long been a part of human civilization. Today, it is far more advanced than it used to be.  No longer are cavities, for example, thought to be the result of tooth worms.

Cosmetic dentistry refers to the practice of making teeth look better. Here are three types of cosmetic dental technologies that might interest you in Kirkland WA.

1. Veneers

Veneers are thin shells that adhere to tooth surfaces in order to give a more uniform appearance. They are often used to cover discoloration, tooth cracks, gaps, and other issues. Dental veneers are good for people who want change right away, and over half a million people opt for veneers every year. Lumineers are a type of veneer that are very thin and translucent, making them look more natural. It’s important that your Porcelain veneers are not too white and nice, like the Hollywood smiles of the 90s, as they can look fake up close.

2. Invisalign

Although 99 percent of Americans agree that smiles are important social assets, part of the benefit of having straighter teeth is not just the beauty of the smile, but the long-term health benefits as well. Misaligned teeth can contribute to cavity formation, premature tooth loss, discomfort, and tooth wear. Invisalign is the grown up version of metal braces, ideal for people who want less visible corrections. It is administered in a series of clear trays that are replaced every several weeks. Because they are changed out more frequently, most people experience less pain than with traditional dental technologies like braces.

3. Implants

Dental implants either replace lost teeth, or are used to hold dentures in place. When a Kirkland dentist needs to put one of these in your mouth, a titanium post is put into the bone in the empty tooth socket, then heals over a period of several weeks.  The new tooth or denture relies on this firm implant to stay securely in place.  The implant can last a lifetime but will depend on many factors including diet, care, and general health of the individual.

What Is the Most Important Aspect of a First Impression? A Winning Smile, of Course.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has polled America, and America has spoken. 99.7 percent of Americans believe that a good smile is a crucial part of our social life. In turn, they have reported that two thirds of people seeking the use of a cosmetic dentist are women.  This data just goes to show you how important cosmetic dentistry can be in boosting the confidence of the smiler receiving the dental work.

Cosmetic dentistry can come in several varieties. It can be as simple as a tooth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental crowns or dental implants. Finding a dentist who will offer you these services could change your life in the best way possible. Just think of the friends you will make, promotions you will earn, and heads you will turn with that flashy new smile.

Contrary to popular belief, dental science has really grown within the last several years, as cosmetic dentists have grown in popularity. In fact, in just the last five years, the use of dental veneers has grown by over 250 percent. And scientific literature has found that dental implant success rates are now up to 98 percent.  The latest, state of the art technology is being used at Kirkland Dentistry to make your smile the best it can be.  Call us to schedule an appointment to discuss the best options to create your winning smile.