Saturday, 9 March 2013

Scientists create human-like teeth from stem cells

In a recent study researchers from the King's College London, led by Professor Paul Sharpe, have presented a new stem cell-based method for the development of artificial teeth that are very similar to the naturally occuring ones. Obviously, the study has great implications in the field of tooth replacement.

In this study, the researchers first extracted cells from adult human gingival tissue (gum) and then expanded their population in-vitro. The cells were then combined with embryonic tooth mesenchymal cells, taken from mice, with the resulting cells being able to form new teeth when transplanted into mouse renal capsules (a tough fibrous layer that surrounds the kidney).

Image showing the anatomy of a tooth (cross-section)
Anatomy of a tooth

According to the study, the bioengineered teeth contained both dentin and enamel and were very similar to normal, human teeth. The newly created teeth also had the capacity to develop roots, in contrast to the currently available tooth implants that fail to recreate the natural root structure. This is very important, as the lack of a natural root structure causes increased friction during eating (and any other action requiring jaw movement), which in turn causes a gradual loss of jaw bone around the implant's titanium rod. However, this is not a problem in  natural teeth as they are connected to the bone via a soft tissue, periodontal ligament that acts as a shock absorber.

" Epithelial cells derived from adult human gum tissue are capable of responding to tooth-inducing signals from embryonic tooth mesenchyme in an appropriate way to contribute to tooth crown and root formation and give rise to relevant differentiated cell types, following in-vitro (in a living body) culture. These easily accessible epithelial cells are thus a realistic source for consideration in human biotooth formation. " said Sharpe

Sharpe's next goal is to find a method that will create human mesenchymal cells that are "tooth-inducing", avoiding thus the need to use mouse embryonic cells and ultimately creating teeth that are even more similar to the original ones.

Although the study does bring the day when we will be able to grow bioengineered teeth closer, the researchers say that there is still a long way to go before applying it in humans.

Today there are three basic ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth:
  • Dental bridge
  • Dentures (false teeth)
  • Dental implants.

Video about dental implants

Related posts

Angelova Volponi, A., Kawasaki, M., & Sharpe, P. (2013). Adult Human Gingival Epithelial Cells as a Source for Whole-tooth Bioengineering Journal of Dental Research DOI: 10.1177/0022034513481041


  1. my all teeth fall down .i want to grow my new natural teeth by stem cell. please tell me about it, it is possible?? if yes. than how can i recive it??? please send me full details. thanks R.S.SODHA

  2. Steve Clarke17 June 2013 04:38

    Nice informative article about a new innovation in the field of dentistry. The scientist have made human-like teeth from stem cells. The newly created teeth also had the capacity to develop roots, in contrast to the currently available tooth implants that fail to recreate the natural root structure

  3. Great efforts. This will be a new revolution in the area of dentistry. The dental implants will be more beneficial if the tooth start developing roots. I would like to see this technology by my own eyes. If you are looking for dental implants then I will suggest you to wait if this technology is going to arrive early in market.


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