So every once in a while, we need happy news. This totally qualifies. Gakked from [personal profile] fyrdrakken:

Technique yields potential biological substitute for dental implants

Short version; using a framework, they use stemcells in the mouth and regrow teeth there. The details are--scientific, so please read the article for clarification.

Okay, I think most of us--including me, who has possibly sent my dentist's kids to like, Princeton--don't think about great leaps in teeth, but this is--this is huge for my family. My youngest sister's teeth, both baby and adult, never formed enamel and years and years of a holding action finally conceded with pulling them and getting dentures a few years ago (she was in her early twenties). She likes them and she's so much less self-conscious now about her smile, and she's pretty much free of the constant pain she was in for several years, so that was successful and all but this is better. I know she was considering implants in the future, which are not exactly a fantastic choice; it's not just money or health that keep people from going for the implant option. My dad had his removed about five years ago, and my grandmother, and my grandfather, my mom's side is only slightly better, and you can see why I am willing to send my dentist's youngest kid to Harvard at this rate. Even my eldest niece and nephew came up against weird tooth issues, and we were sending them to the dentist from the first time it looked like they might get teeth; so far, Nick's have been mild.

(My middle sister has perfect teeth. We hate her.)

Growing teeth organically in the gum in nine weeks. Implants at best take years and hideously expensive, and this might be a cost effective alternative. In nine weeks.

This is great.

ETA: You know, there used to be a five things friday (or still is)? There should be a Cool Science and Medical Things Day of the week, to track down this stuff. I keep forgetting sometimes that amazing leaps are still happening every second.
scy: (Default)

[personal profile] scy
2010-05-25 03:30 am (UTC)
I want this to be covered by insurance, I mean this would be WONDERFUL for so many people - and gum health extends into so many other areas -
scy: (Default)

[personal profile] scy
2010-05-25 03:47 am (UTC)
And if it's something that doesn't need continually tweaking or has a lot of issues? Then it's WORTH it.
gchick: Small furry animal wearing a tin-foil hat (Default)

2010-05-25 03:41 am (UTC)
Stem cells FTW!

(And I don't even have more or weirder dental problems than what I gather is the average -- it's just so awesomely cool, both from a fixing-people standpoint and the not-inconsiderable pure whizbang of it.)
fyrdrakken: (Balance)

2010-05-25 08:17 pm (UTC)
When I went to a dentist and then an oral surgeon to get my wisdom teeth out was when it really sunk in: I can afford to either A) stay on top of my vision with eye exams and periodic glasses replacements, or B) attempt to maintain my teeth (which BTW would involve a serious initial outlay in terms of deep cleanings and the root canal the dentist wanted to do and whatever else before I reached the stage that I was just down to regular cleanings and maybe eventually vanity stuff like straightening my teeth out). And, yeah, dentures exist but replacement eyes don't, and glaucoma runs in my family, and I just use my eyes more often than I do my teeth.
spasticat: (all is well)

2010-05-25 04:02 am (UTC)
Wow, that is cool. Thanks for the scientific update! Seriously.

Friends used to think I was lying saying my baby teeth were missing the enamel. It sucks that your one sis' adult teeth were also missing it...so she must be jumping in glee over this "potential technique for dental implants"! May it come to actual use very very soon!
grammarwoman: (Default)

2010-05-25 04:12 am (UTC)
OMG, how AWESOME! A very good friend of mine had the same issues with her enamel, so she went the same route and had them all pulled and replaced with dentures. She says her life is so much better now - this would be wonderful if it could be a permanent fix.
ratcreature: RatCreature as a (science) geek. (geek)

2010-05-25 06:42 am (UTC)
This is awesome. I've wished so often that we would just grow a third set. I mean, even with fairly regular teeth, the clearly have not evolved to last long into your adult decades.
fyrdrakken: (X-ray stiletto)

2010-05-25 08:24 pm (UTC)
I've run across the suggestion that the wisdom teeth evolved/persisted precisely because tooth loss was such a regular factor through much of human history that having a few spares ready to pop out a bit later in life was an advantage -- that they didn't become impacted as often because a few teeth were generally already missing and had made room.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)

2010-05-25 08:44 pm (UTC)
Could be, though my four wisdom teeth all fit well within my mouth when I got them without any space problems.

However dentists don't seem to care about them. When one of mine had a cavity, and the inept dentist turned what was supposed to be a filling into a root canal needing thing (he claimed the nerve reached further up than he thought), he wanted to just pull out the tooth rather than fixing it, as if it didn't count. And my insurance didn't cover root canals for wisdom teeth either, only extraction. Like some kind of second-class tooth. WTF? Mine work perfectly well for chewing stuff! So I ended up having to pay several hundred euro for a root canal, just too keep my wisdom tooth.
fyrdrakken: (Doctor/Donna)

2010-05-26 05:55 pm (UTC)
You were lucky on that front -- I and both my parents had to have ours removed, and I was so late at getting mine out that the impacted one created a decay pocket that ruined the neighboring molar. I can see why so many dentists would get in the habit of thinking of them as superfluous, given how many people do have to get them removed.
sinatra: 'Sinatra', a hand tipping a fedora (mustache!)

2010-05-25 06:56 am (UTC)
This is awesome. My family gets cavities like nobody's business, and I had my first root canal when I was 17. There is no way my teeth are going to make it through my adulthood, and an alternative to implants/gaping holes is fantastic!
northern: "northern" written in gray text across a raven (Default)

2010-05-25 07:17 am (UTC)
That is really, really cool!
iadorespike: (Azalea)

2010-05-25 01:30 pm (UTC)
This is just fascinating. What a great thing this could be for so many. :)

Thanks for sharing.
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

2010-05-25 01:52 pm (UTC)
There's [community profile] science.
concinnity: (Default)

2010-05-25 02:06 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is amazing. My family lost the genetic lottery in the teeth department, too. *sighs*
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)

2010-05-25 09:22 pm (UTC)
i have cavity prone teeth exacerbated by a bad braces experience. one of my front teeth is mostly fake anyway. if i could yank the sucker and grow a new one, i think both my dentist and myself would be happier. then again i had an extra set of front teeth as a kid that had to be pulled, so maybe reactivating those bits of my genetic code wouldn't be a good idea.

2010-05-25 03:34 am (UTC)
!!!

I have nightmares about teeth crumbling as I chew food. NIGHTMARES. RECURRING NIGHTMARES. This is like the tooth fairy making all my wishes come true instead.

We live in the future, Jenn.

2010-05-25 03:43 am (UTC)
Stephen King's Tommyknockers scarred me, man. *shudders* WITH THE SISTER WITH THE GRINDING OF HER IMPLANTED TEETH AND EVERYONE ELSE'S FALLING OUT?

*shudders*

2010-05-25 12:17 pm (UTC)
I never read King because I was too scared I'd never be able to forget his horrific situations.
ext_3058: (Default)

2010-05-25 03:41 am (UTC)
That's really cool! Eventually, I can totally see things like crowns and root canals becoming a thing of the past. Grow a new and better one!

2010-05-25 03:43 am (UTC)
*glee* Yes!
soul_cake_duck: (happy - bea_lost)

2010-05-25 03:53 am (UTC)
There should be a Cool Science and Medical Things Day of the week, to track down this stuff.

Is that not what [livejournal.com profile] ontd_science is for? Sometimes its cute pictures of new species being found, and other times its depressing stories about how we're killing the rainforest - and theres a lot of robots and physics stuff too. I find it handy for this kind of thing.

2010-05-25 03:54 am (UTC)
True, but I was thinking more things that show positive advancements in science that improve quality of life or like, the thing [livejournal.com profile] ithiliana had about teleportation! *g*

2010-05-25 04:12 am (UTC)
last week, half of my molar crumbled as i bit into a potato salad sandwich. this is on top of part of a canine, and despite having had the cavities in those teeth filled and capped multiple times, and brushing ALL THE TIME. my dad had dentures by the time he was 35, and i am SO SO SCARED to go down the same path but hopefully, with advances like this, families like yours and mine won't have to! this news is so exciting (lmfao probably more than it should be, but it's what happens) ♥

2010-05-25 04:28 am (UTC)
*shudderS* I just lost a cap unexpectedly to gum--GUM!-that I need to have replaced. And i need to get my front tooth that is chipped fixed as soon as my dentist can see me.

LET ME GROW SOME NEW ONES OKAY? And possibly coat them in, IDK, professional grade ceramic or something. THIS TOOTH THING NEEDS TO STOP.
ext_19150: (slrcosmos - joan)

2010-05-25 04:37 am (UTC)
I have dreams about my teeth falling out, which aren't really backed up by the status of teeth, but it freaks me out so much. My mom is supposed to get implants and they put the "studs" in, and it hurt so much. I'm kinda happy I got the poor eyesight and not the bad teeth from her side of the family.
edited at 2010-05-25 04:37 am (UTC)

2010-05-25 10:56 am (UTC)
I've had those dreams too (despite having basically good teeth). I mentioned this to my hygienist, and she said it's actually a common recurring dream. So you have a lot of company!

2010-05-25 04:43 am (UTC)
http://herpesvaccineresearch.com/

2010-05-25 04:45 am (UTC)
I still see my orthodontist about my retainer from time to time and he's recently taken on his son in the practice. I hate this guy - he's such a prick and all I want to do is slap him and scream something to the effect of "WHO DO YOU THINK PAID FOR DENTAL SCHOOL YOU SHIT!"

Or something.

I remember when fluoride treatments went from 4 min to 1 min. Hallelujah.
mklutz: (ds-canada)

2010-05-25 04:55 am (UTC)
As someone who spent about 20 years on dental work and orthodontics so someone could drill a steel peg into my jaw bone, I am completely, insanely jealous of future people who get this done. God damnit, the amount of shit in my mouth is insane.

2010-05-25 04:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I read about that research last year, while doing a paper for a medical ethics class. Fascinating - it's exactly that kind of cloning I'm really enthused about: in situ replacement of lost or worn-out parts.

However! I think I need to correct you about the tooth implants. They are expensive, but they don't take years. At least, mine didn't. There were 2-month waits between steps (extraction of tooth, insertion of implant screw) for the gum to heal completely, and then another 2-month wait for the finished fake tooth, but the entire process took "only" 8 months. And the cost is high, but not astronomical: about $3000 for the whole thing. And the new tooth looks and feels like the real thing, not a whole lot different from a crown.

Mind you, a real tooth created from one's own DNA and growing in one's own jaw is certainly better than a fake tooth attached to a bolt screwed into one's jaw. But the replacement/cloning tech isn't likely to be available for years, and we'll have to make do with implants until then...
fyrdrakken: (Morbid silliness)

2010-05-25 08:10 pm (UTC)
My grandfather got implants a year or three back, which I became aware of mostly through Dad's bitching about it, which I didn't really like the tone of. (Basically, "Why can't he just get dentures instead of blowing our inheritance on a vanity procedure?") So I really noticed this story. (My family's teeth aren't quite that horrible, but I haven't been to the dentist in years and have some issues with the left lower molars and just basically had accepted that dentures were probably in my eventual future.)

2010-05-26 04:36 am (UTC)
That is pretty damn cool. I have an uncle who had dentures by like age 22 - it'd be so nice if medicine advanced enough to allow people his age with the same problem not to have to spend around 3/4ths of their life in dentures.

2010-05-28 02:59 am (UTC)
Wow, so what are the odds this will be available in a reasonable number of years? My 14-year-old knocked out most of his two front teeth a couple of years ago, and has had poor bondings ever since that keep breaking ... after the last one broke a few months ago he said he didn't even want to bother fixing it, so he's had a broken tooth for months, hidden partially by braces. They say they can't do anything more permanent until he's at least 17 so we're faced with years of this ... wouldn't it be marvelous if this technology were actually workable?????

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