Since the 1990’s growing teeth from tooth buds has gained a lot of interest in the research community. To say the least the idea of tooth regeneration and growing biological teeth is exciting to a lot of people as an alternative to missing teeth. While there has been moderate success in lab animals the reality of ‘growing new teeth’ in humans is still far off in the distance from all indications.
Biological issues like integration into the host and immune acceptance still have to be worked out. It is also likely to be prohibitively expensive in the beginning. The bottom line is that tooth bio-engineering is proving itself to be difficult in humans. Hopefully in our lifetimes it will become a reality.
Below is an Abstract of a research paper regarding tooth regeneration using tooth bud cells or embryonic teeth. The source is the Journal Medical Molecular Morphology and the publisher is Springer in Japan where the research was done.
Abstract: ” Humans are genetically programmed to replace their teeth once during childhood. Therefore, when adult teeth are lost or damaged, they cannot be regenerated or regrown. However, with the advancement of stem cell biology and tissue engineering, regenerating the whole tooth has become a realistic and attractive option to replace a lost or damaged tooth, and therefore has strongly attracted attention in the field of dental research. During the past several years, significant progress has been made in this research endeavor, providing greater understanding of the production of an entire biological tooth by tissue engineering using stem cells. There are several ways to reproduce an entire biological tooth. Approaches are categorized according to the cell sources that have the potential to produce teeth. One source is the embryonic tooth bud, and the other is the postnatal tooth bud. The results from embryonic and postnatal tooth buds differ considerably. In particular, the potential to regulate the shape of the tooth crown from embryonic tooth bud is higher than from postnatal tooth bud. This article describes the achievements to date in production of biological teeth, mostly from our laboratory. In particular, we describe the potential to produce teeth from embryonic and postnatal tooth buds”.