Dentures, false teeth, and more could soon be a thing of the past.
Researchers have recently discovered an antibody that could possibly spark the regrowing of lost teeth. This would mean that if someone loses an adult tooth, they would be able to grow it right back again.
This is an important development when one considers how significant an issue tooth loss is for adults in the United States.
Well over half of adults could benefit from the discovery.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 69% of adults aged 35-44 have lost one permanent tooth as a result of decay. Wouldn’t it be so great if we could just grow those things back?
Results in animal studies show promise.
At Kyoto University in Japan, a team of scientists developed a monoclonal antibody treatment that has now been shown to trigger the body to grow new teeth. Their research was published earlier this year in Science Advances.
During their research, the team genetically engineered mice to have a condition called tooth agenesis, which causes a failure to develop some teeth.
They then injected pregnant mice with this condition with the USAG-1 antibody they developed. The results were that the mice’s offspring developed teeth normally.
Regular mice were shown to grow all new teeth.
Additionally, regular mice were shown to grow a whole new tooth after a single administration of the antibody. The same tests have been done on ferrets with similar results.
The researchers hope to move on to testing other animals that are more similar to humans next.
“Ferrets are diphyodont animals with similar dental patterns to humans. Our next plan is to test the antibodies on other animals such as pigs and dogs,” said study co-author Katsu Takahashi from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine.
Researchers were confident that the USAG-1 antibody would help with tooth development but they didn’t know if it would be enough to trigger the growth of all new teeth. The results were a pleasant surprise.
“We knew that suppressing USAG-1 benefits tooth growth. What we did not know was whether it would be enough,” Takahashi added.
Benefits for people with congenital tooth anomalies.
There are numerous congenital conditions that can cause tooth anomalies. The research into growing new teeth with the USAG-1 antibody serves as hope for this class of patients.
A condition called hypodontia is one of the most common dental anomalies seen in the field. It is rarely seen in baby teeth and tends to only develop with adults.
There are 3 classifications of the condition:
- Hypodontia – 1-6 teeth missing excluding 3rd molars.
- Oligondontia – 6 or more teeth missing excluding 3rd molars.
- Anodontia – complete absence of teeth.
Currently, a wide range of treatments is available including surgery and removable partial dentures. The effectiveness of treatment is really dependent upon the individual case.
The possibility of helping these patients grow their own teeth, however, is the most ideal if researchers can make it a feasible treatment.
“Conventional tissue engineering is not suitable for tooth regeneration. Our study shows that cell-free molecular therapy is effective for a wide range of congenital tooth agenesis,” concluded Manabu Sugai of the University of Fukui, co-author of the study.
This is a discovery everyone can celebrate. Well, except for maybe the denture industry.
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