The future in dentistry: dental regeneration from stem cells
The use of stem cells has been one of the greatest advances in science over the past and present centuries, although not without controversy.
Used in regenerative medicine, stem cells have the ability to renew and generate new cells, repairing and originating tissues.
This potential has extended its research to the point that, to date, it has been used to eliminate HIV from infected cells, to create and regenerate organs and bones, to replace diseased cells for the treatment of diabetes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, create ovules and blood, or regenerate cells eliminated during chemotherapy in cancer treatments.
One way to classify them is according to their origin of how they are obtained, which can be embryonic or adult. In the first case, they have the ability to generate any differentiated cell in the body; while those of adult origin can renew the cells of the organs and tissues where they are located, although the latest research suggests that, under certain conditions, they can be differentiated into different tissues.
The ethical conflict is prompted by the stem cells of embryonic origin, becau-se it implies the use of human embryos.
In dentistry, the stem cells with which it is investigated are hitherto of adult origin. The National Centre for Biotechnological Informa-tion (NCBI), part of the National Library of Medicine of the United States, published in 2015 the study “Stem cells: Sources, and regenerative therapies in dental research and practice,” which highlights the future use of this type of cells for the regeneration of the bone and the soft tissues of the mouth; as well as its applications in the treatments of periodontal intra-ocular problems, the improvement in the procedures of mandibular grafting and in the repair of teeth affected by decay. But the most striking thing about this study is that it glimpses its use in the natural regeneration of the teeth, that is to say, to obtain that the pieces that have been lost grow again.
For NCBI, “It can be considered that a new era of dentistry is beginning,” a revolution in a practice that today replaces the teeth from implants and prostheses, the best option that exists so far.
Everything started in 2003, when the lab of doctor, Pamela Robey, chief of the craniofacial and skeletal diseases branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the United States, discovered dental stem cells.
According to CNN which published in an interview with Dr. Robey in April of this year, several colleagues from her laboratory realised that when a cavity caused by a decay is generated, the body naturally manufactures dentin (the hard tissue located just below the enamel). That is, our body tries to plug that cavity to protect the tooth with “regenerative dentin.”
Her team determined that “this should mean that there are stem cells inside the teeth, capable of activating and making dentin. Therefore, to get a tooth grow, the first step should be to learn how to stimulate dentin manufac-turing. “
It is here when the investigation begins with tooth trial. They found that pulp cells, which contain nerve tissue and blood supply, make dentin. Also, they discovered that the milk teeth not only make dentin, but a material similar to the bone, which would mean the beginning of everything. Being able to stimulate these cells to create bone could be the beginning of the creation of teeth naturally.
The directors of Artedental, a clinic specialising in dental implantology in the Canaries, whose team is responsible for the creation of a unique prosthesis system, patented and recognised throughout Europe, is aware of what this implies.
Víctor Cubillo, surgeon and clinical director of the clinic explains that “it is the duty of those who dedicate ourselves to any branch of medicine, to be constantly renewing, and more in a centrelike ours, that dedicates a large part of its resources to research “. “For example,” he continues, “our team has extensive experience in regenerative medicine treatments such as the Plasma Rico en Factores de Crecimiento or PRF, obtained from the patient for the regeneration of the tissues, avoiding those of animal origin.”
The use of Plasma Rico in Growth Factors (PRF) consists in the use of the patient’s plasma to help cure or integrate the implants in the bone after its placement. The results of this treatment are extraordinary, since the rejection of a patient to a substance that he himself has generated (autologous) is practically non-existent. In Artedental they have been working with this method for about a decade, although it is still not widely used in the Canaries.
In the case of the use of stem cells in dentistry, Dr. Cubillo says the research is still in a very experimental phase, and has not yet been tested in humans but ack-nowledges that if that is the future of dentistry , Artedental does not plan to stay behind.
“If the results come to a successful conclusion, as appears to be the case, we will add a molecular biology department to our laboratory, where we investigate and implement those cuttingedge treatments that improve and facilitate interventions for our patients,” he concludes.