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Bioengineered molar mimics natural tooth structure, complete with enamel, dentin, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligament. PHOTO CREDIT: Takashi Tsuji, PhD, Tokyo University of Science 

Artificially Grown Tooth Shows Promise as a Replacement for Missing Dentition  

Results from a Japanese research team focusing on tooth regeneration show promise as a possible source for replacement of natural dentition lost to accident or disease. Tokyo University of Science’s Takashi Tsuji, PhD, led the study, in which an artificial tooth was grown from a wood mouse’s (Apodemus sylvaticus) embryonic cells implanted into a membrane surrounding the kidney of an adult mouse.

Within 60 days, the embryonic cells had developed into a molar with a periodontal ligament—and with correct structure comprising enamel, ameloblast, dentin, odontoblast, dental pulp, alveolar bone, and blood vessels.

The tooth was removed from the adult mouse and implanted into the jawbone of another adult mouse using common implant placement techniques. A month after implantation, complete osseointegration of the foreign tooth had occurred, the team reports. Full eruption of the implanted artificial tooth to the achievement of occlusion was achieved within two months. Researchers noted there was no excessive increase in tooth length at four months after implantation.

Research into ways to culture and cultivate tooth cells outside of the body using embryonic cells, adult stem cells, and cells from wisdom teeth is currently underway.