The answer may be more enlightening than you can imagine. Scientists are working diligently to discover the abilities of cell regeneration within the human body. Dentistry is playing an important role in this new age research.
Is it possible that the days of the root canal could finally be numbered? Yes. It may even be sooner than you think.
A root canal procedure involves cleaning out the infected and dead tissue in the root canal of the tooth, disinfecting the area, and adding an impermeable seal to try to prevent further infection. An estimated 15.1 million root canals are performed in the U.S. annually, according to a 2005-06 survey by the American Dental Association.
Elimination of root canals would be a huge paradigm shift in dentistry. Dentist welcome this change in their practices since their major concern about a root canal is that, although they may eliminate the pain and infection that patients initially experience, they cannot always create a sterile environment inside the dentinal tubules. Also, the seal that is carefully placed at the apex of the tooth does not always prevent new infection from occurring. This compromised condition could subsequently spread to surrounding tissue without detection and eventually develop unexplained or mysterious illnesses in other areas of the body.
Current research shows that advances made by scientists in treating tooth decay may allow dentists to restore tooth tissue and avoid the dreaded root canal procedure. Several recent studies have demonstrated in animals that procedures involving tooth stem cells appear to regrow the critical, living tooth tissue known as pulp.
Treatments that prompt the body to regrow its own tissues and organs are known broadly as regenerative medicine. There is significant interest in figuring out how to implement this knowledge to help the many people with cavities and disease that lead to tooth loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. half of kids have had at least one cavity by the time they are 15 years old and a quarter of adults over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth.
Tooth decay arises when bacteria or infections overwhelm a tooth’s natural repair process. If the culprit isn’t reduced or eliminated, the damage can continue. If it erodes the hard, outer enamel and penetrates down inside the tooth, the infection eventually can kill the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth, prompting the need for either a root canal or removal of the tooth.
Pulp is necessary to detect sensation, including heat, cold, and pressure. It contains the stem cells (undifferentiated cells that turn into specialized ones) that can regenerate tooth tissue.
Researchers from South Korea and Japan to the U.S. and United Kingdom have been working on how to stimulate dental stem cells into regenerating pulp.
The tooth is considered nature’s “safe” for these valuable stem cells. There is an abundance of stem cells in baby teeth, wisdom teeth, and permanent teeth. The process is still in its early stages, but it is well on the path to what could be a reduction, or even elimination, of the need for painful root canals.
A 2009 nationwide survey by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) revealed that 96% of the dentists polled expected stem cell regeneration to dominate the future of dentistry. Additionally, more than half predicted that the technology would be available within the next decade.
Stem cell regeneration will certainly reform the practice of dentistry in a positive manner. Sooner than later we’ll witness the day when dentists will be moving away from traditional root canal treatments and reduce or eliminate the need for extracting teeth due to extensive dental decay. Beautiful, healthy teeth will finally be the norm instead of the exception.
As consumers become increasingly aware of dental stem cells, patients are asking dentists to tell them about dental stem cells and how they can be banked or saved for future use.
Services like Store-A-Tooth are beginning to be routine rather than the exeption with more parents choosing to preserve their children's baby and wisdom teeth when they come out so that the stem cells inside can be saved for future use.
What is Store-A-Tooth™?
Store-A-Tooth™ is a service that allows patients to store the stem cells associated with these teeth – instead of discarding these tissues.
Healthy deciduous teeth or adult teeth that are exfoliating or are being extracted contain stem cells and therefore are excellent candidates.
Our mission is to provide access to care for patients who wish to store these tissues.
Why Choose Provia Laboratories?
Not all dental stem cell banking services are the same. Our end-to-end process is consistent with best practices stated in the AAPD Policy on Stem Cells and federal and state regulations.
Work with a provider that you can trust to properly save your client's precious stem cells.
- We use *Save-A-Tooth® as the core component of our tooth collection and transport kit.
- We overnight samples from your office to our lab for higher stem cell quality.
- We test samples for Industry-Standard stem cell markers to verify presence of stem cells published by the International Society for Cellular Therapy.
*Save-A-Tooth® is FDA-approved, ADA-accepted, recommended by the Mayo Clinic and the NIH and trusted by thousands of dentists, emergency responders, sports teams, schools, and families to preserve avulsed teeth for reimplantation.