Scientists have come a step closer to replacing missing teeth with implants grown from stem cells.
Researchers succeeded in engineering hybrid human-mouse teeth coated in enamel with developing roots.
It is hoped the work will lead to dentures being replaced by real substitute molars grown from “seeds” planted into a patient’s jaw.
The technique, described in the latest Journal Of Dental Research, involved growing cells from human gum tissue and combining them with tooth stem cells from mouse embryos. The combination cell clusters were transplanted into adult mouse kidneys where they grew into recognisable tooth structures.
Examination showed they contained dentin – the main structural material of teeth – as well as hard protective enamel. There was also evidence of viable root formation.