Lost a Tooth? The Latest Study Suggests You Might Just Be Able to Grow It Back!

The teeth might just be the most striking feature of the human face. A full complement of strong, sparkling white teeth makes chewing a delightful experience, keeps you looking nicer, and also improves the warmth of your smile. At about 21 years, the average human has 32 teeth – 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars. Tooth development is a complex process that begins in the womb and results in primary teeth(baby teeth) and permanent teeth. A loss or congenital absence of teeth could be caused by accident or genetic factors. Up until now, implants and prostheses have been the only options. Therefore, for patients to resume their usual eating habits and lifestyles, novel approaches and therapeutic alternatives, such as tooth regeneration, are needed to satisfy the unmet demands in dental care.

Read Also: Analyzing the Cost Factors and Benefits of Dental Implants for Informed Decision-Making

Teeth X Ray

Teeth X-Ray

So far, finding the mechanisms that prompt and halt tooth formation has been the subject of extensive study.

Losing a tooth does not have to be the end

Scientists have implied that the human body has the ability to regrow teeth, with the right push of course. Katsu Takahashi (who heads the oral dentistry department and is the research team lead at the Medical Research Institute Kitano Hospital) and his team have discovered a gene called USAG-1 which produces a protein that halts the development of teeth in mice. This was published in a scientific journal in 2021. Takahashi has been in research for years, particularly focusing on the genetic aspect of teeth development. He is of the opinion that if genes play a vital role in tooth development, they will also play a role in tooth regeneration.

Read Also: Dental Health: 5 Ways Missing Teeth Can Negatively Affect Your Oral Health

During the study, it was discovered that the limitation of the protein produced by the USAG-1 gene in mice could cause the sprouting of new dental tissue. Furthermore, as a sequel to this finding, a drug, an anti-USAG-1 antibody, was formulated to inhibit this protein, leading to new teeth formation. Currently, they have announced a new clinical trial which is to commence in 2024. This will involve testing the drug on human subjects and if all turns out well, the drug will be ready by 2030. The anti-USAG-1 antibody therapy in mice may provide success in the treatment of human dental abnormalities.

Clinical significance

The medication could prove very useful in the treatment of genetic conditions like anodontia and hypodontia. Coming down to the more mundane, this could be helpful to every brawler who at one time or another has lost a tooth in a heated bar fight.

Read Also: The Ultimate Guide to a Radiant Smile: Tips for Brighter Teeth and a Healthier Mouth

Conclusion

Anti-USAG-1 antibody therapy and other future innovative therapies could offer a better quality of life to the world’s population, and teeth to the growing toothless population. We wait patiently for the latest clinical trial findings. Then, there is the question being begged, if we can regenerate teeth now, what else can we regenerate? Fingers? Eyes?

References

Ravi, V., Murashima-Suginami, A., Kiso, H., Tokita, Y., Huang, C. L., Bessho, K., Takagi, J., Sugai, M., Tabata, Y., & Takahashi, K. (2023). Advances in tooth agenesis and tooth regeneration. Regenerative therapy, 22, 160–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reth.2023.01.004

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