We often think that wisdom teeth extractions are a bothersome surgery a patient needs to undergo in other to prevent complications in the future. But what if there was an even stronger reason to remove your wisdom teeth? What if a wisdom tooth could save your life in the future? This is what scientists are trying to do with stem cells.
Stem cells have been all over the media in the last decade, and while some of the promises we’ve heard are outrageous; scientists have put a lot of faith in the ability of these little guys to save lives. And so far the results in regenerative medicine have been nothing but outstanding.
But what are stem cells?
We are made of cells: our hair, our skin, our organs, and even our bones. Ordinary cells are specialized; that is, they serve a specific function in the body, and when they replicate, they create the same kind of cell, for example, a blood cell will replicate into more blood cells.
But, stem cells are not specialized as they have no specific function within the body. It means that a stem cells can become specialized cells, and scientists are finding the key to opening that potential.
Think of it this way, before a kid goes to college he or she can potentially be anything, a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, or an engineer. Biomedical scientists believe that stem cells are like that, full of potential; as such, scientists can use them to grow the specific kind of cell your body needs.
In clinical trials and many treatments stem cell therapy has proven to be a great solution to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, immune system issues, restoring solid tissue, internal organs, and more.
Differences between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells
Stem cells can be found in the bone marrow, which is the center or cartilage of some bones. Transplanting of bone marrow is also a very modern treatment to deal with certain diseases. As stem cells develop during the early stages of pregnancy in the baby’s heart and immune system, it is also possible to harvest them from embryos.
If the treatment plan involves embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells need to be added as well since they are more resilient and they adapt very well to specialized cells. Stem cells from wisdom teeth are considered adult cells and are easily harvested.
What do wisdom teeth have to do with stem cells?
Scientists have recently found that the dental pulp of wisdom teeth is a repository of mesenchymal stem cells, and they have done a great deal of research on this kind of cell. Specialized laboratories offer very simple procedures to bank stem cells safely for future use.
Harvesting stem cells from wisdom teeth is a very simple procedure that only involves routine oral surgery, so tooth extractions are a great opportunity for banking stem cells. The best part is that oral surgeons or dentists don’t need any special training; it’s just like any other wisdom tooth extraction.
But there is a warning; dental pulp stem cells degrade over time. Even though stem cells from healthy teeth are considered adult stem cells, it is best if they are collected at a young age since child stem cells are more useful. The younger the child, the stem cell count will be higher.
This is why many scientists recommend parents have their child’s wisdom teeth extracted, to preserve the integrity of the healthy stem cells, and to freeze them for future use. Also, having healthy stem cells from extracted teeth banked prevents rejection and possible complications.
It is important to keep good oral health since unhealthy teeth don’t have healthy cells.
While there is still a lot we don’t know about dental stem cells; their applications in regenerative medicine are great. Even today, doctors are saving thousands of lives thanks to stem cells.
It will be a good idea to find a stem cell banking service near your location so during the consultation with one of our dental professionals in Dental Solutions ask for a bank where you could take the extracted wisdom teeth to harvest and store the stem cells found.