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May 03, 2004

Your Third Set of Teeth

Here's something I've long been talking about to my dentist and one of my friends who's a professor at UCSF. The idea is to grow a new set of teeth instead of getting dentures, and researchers now say it should be pretty simple. They've already done it in mice.

Instead of false teeth, a small ball of cells capable of growing into a new tooth will be implanted where the missing one used to be.

The procedure needs only a local anaesthetic and the new tooth should be fully formed within a few months of the cells being implanted.

A few months isn't bad at all, is it? Especially not for a brand new tooth. It will just be a bit weird to cut a new molar at that age, but it's something other animals can already do.

The procedure is fairly simple. Doctors take stem cells from the patient. These are unique in their ability to form any of the tissues that make up the body. By carefully nurturing the stem cells in a laboratory, scientists can nudge the cells down a path that will make them grow into a tooth. After a couple of weeks, the ball of cells, known as a bud, is ready to be implanted. Tests reveal what type of tooth - for example, a molar or an incisor - the bud will form.

There are different sets of genes that get activated in the upper versus the lower jaw, and in the back versus the front. I'd hope they would know where in the jaw they'd been planted, but the scientists already know how to turn some of them on and off, for example to cause a molar to grow where an incisor should be.

Tests have shown the technique to work in mice, where new teeth took weeks to grow. "There's no reason why it shouldn't work in humans, the principles are the same," said Prof Sharpe.

His team has set up a company, Odontis, to exploit the technique, and has won £400,000 from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and the Wellcome Trust.

Ah, don't you just love capitalism? Now just think how this will impact dentistry as people opt for a third tooth instead of massive fillings and caps. Sign me up.

May 3, 2004 in Science | Permalink


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» The Tooth Fairy gets busier from Galen's Log
Bastard Sword highlights a new use of stem cells: modify them to differentiate into teeth, and implant them into the jaw to form a new set of teeth instead of the rather unpleasant set of options that are currently available [Read More]

Tracked on May 4, 2004 12:47:39 AM

» Around the blogosphere from democrats give conservatives indigestion
You never know what you might find on the blogosphere. Here's some examples: Patterico tells of forcing an amendment to a Circuit Court decision. Grow a new tooth? bastardsword has the details. You think YOUR day was bad? Look what... [Read More]

Tracked on May 4, 2004 2:49:27 PM

» Baby Teeth, Adult Teeth, Bonus Teeth! from Les Jones Blog
There's progress on the ability to grow new teeth. Instead of false teeth, a small ball of cells capable of growing into a new tooth will be implanted where the missing one used to be. The procedure needs only a... [Read More]

Tracked on May 4, 2004 10:41:55 PM

» Baby Teeth, Adult Teeth, Bonus Teeth! from Les Jones Blog
There's progress on the ability to grow new teeth. Instead of false teeth, a small ball of cells capable of growing into a new tooth will be implanted where the missing one used to be. The procedure needs only a... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 7, 2004 6:48:47 PM


What is that? A stem cell from an adult patient?

I thought stem-cell research was all about developing embryos...

Unless this is a phase of stem-cell research that has been largely ignored until now.

Posted by: steve h at May 3, 2004 8:15:49 PM

They're using adult stem cells so there's no risk of tissue rejection. The embryonic stem cells are just more versatile and can multiply more before petering out, due to the loss of the telomeres, the little end-caps on your chromosomes.

Posted by: George Turner at May 3, 2004 8:35:43 PM

Probably have to wear braces for a while, so it doesn't come in all crooked.

Posted by: Matt Harris at May 3, 2004 10:27:51 PM

Well that's another question, Matt. The cells will hopefully figure out the proper orientation, but then again, we have those things called "impacted widsom teeth" that just aren't any fun at all.

Posted by: George Turner at May 4, 2004 12:20:25 AM

I see no reason why this couldn't be applied to other organ systems as well. Makes for some interesting possibilities

Posted by: Galen at May 4, 2004 12:31:49 AM

Well, Steve.

Adult stem cell research was largely (and continues to be) ignored by the media in their neverending quest to convince us of the boons of breeding embryos for slaughter.

The whole idea is to get us to accept embryos and, by extension, fetuses as "not human".

Posted by: Emperor Misha I at May 4, 2004 1:06:47 AM

I'm not so convinced of the International Anti-Embryo Conspiracy(tm)...

A tooth is a relatively simple structure. Adult stem cells are much less versatile than emrbyonic stem cells and less likley to be successful at forming into the complex structure required for organ function.

This is something I've been waiting for for a few years now. What an excellent use of technology, using the model of natural growth to fix problems in our health (granted, these problems are mostly avoidable with proper dental hygiene in the first place).

Posted by: Thebastidge at May 4, 2004 3:51:57 AM

For those of us who don't want to wait (trials with humans to START in two years?), note that it is expected to cost about the same as implants (basically dentures screwed into the jaw) - and as far as I know implants do not fall prey to the problems of natural teeth, though the gums do so keep brushing and flossing.

Posted by: John Anderson at May 4, 2004 11:38:07 AM

While reading this I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if the stem cell "nudging" was a little off course. Perhaps after a few weeks you open your mouth to have a look in the mirror and your "tooth" is is an eyeball looking back at you. :)

Posted by: Terry at May 5, 2004 11:22:10 AM

i can't wait! i would love to grow my teeth longer(i am a grinder).

Posted by: Christian Peper at May 12, 2006 11:58:28 PM

You can grow a third set of teeth on your own. I have had multiple sets of wisdom teeth and extra teeth in the roof of my mouth. The social conditioning of what we cannot do is a terrible afront to all of us.

Posted by: Rowland Lives at Sep 27, 2006 4:18:47 PM

I grew a third set of front teeth without any medical intervention...baby teeth fell out early and were replaced by adult teeth when I was only four. The dentist spotted another set of adult teeth behind, took out the 'interim teeth' when I was eight, and my present teeth grew through...it's a rare phenomenon but not unique...

Posted by: LucyB at May 5, 2007 10:09:09 AM

Why can't we human spent more time on studying this than we study on how to make a guy change sex.

Posted by: Zero at Nov 8, 2007 11:30:27 PM

I looked for my dentures this morning. I could not find them. But under my pillow was a quarter... Can you beleive that?

Posted by: geir at Dec 25, 2007 10:21:16 PM

Thanks for this post!

It's in my honest opinion that the body already knows how to do these things.
So the idea of actually having to do all of this, with exterior things and exterior tools is kind of odd to me.

People have been found to grow 3rd sets of teeth. No fooling around required. It came naturally to them.

If we take a good look at Bruce Lipton's "The New Biology" (there's a 2-hour talk by him on Google Video), we find that the body can change its functions depending on what it believes to be possible or needed to be done.

I ask you. What did we do before toothbrushes and dentists?

Posted by: Black Lynx Fillmore at Jan 30, 2008 6:18:38 AM

Dentists will not like it, but I want to grow my third set of teeth alone without any manipulation from outside.
We know the power of mind and we know that belief can move mountains. Why not use this power? If you say: "To grow a third set of teeth is not possible!" Then of course it is not possible.
I had Fibromyalgia and the doctors said that there is no cure and I have to live with this the rest of my life. I said NO! And invested about it and did my own treatment. After two years I was completely healed! I had an inguinal hernia. The doctor said that this must be operated immediately and that there would be no other way to repair it. I refused surgery and investigated and found nothing: only surgery! I started my own treatment and after 1 1/2 year I was completely healed. This is two years ago and no symptoms showed up any more. I can lift heavy weights and work like before.
So: If you are convinced that you can do it, then you can do it. At least this is the basic condition that you start with it.
I will do the same with my teeth. I lost the last two years nearly all my upper molars and I will start now to let them grow.
I will do it with meditation and EFT to start with. I am investigating now if I can do more.
Any body has an idea? I would appreciate your feedback.

Posted by: BeiYin at Mar 6, 2009 7:01:27 AM

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Posted by: Quamdaump at Mar 25, 2009 2:56:29 PM

What did early humans do before toothbrushes and dentists? They died and lost teeth at an early age. Folks with extra teeth suffer from an abnormality, which is often painful and problematic, unfortunately.

It would be great if they could manipulate stem cells to grow various body parts, unfortunately this science is a ways off.

Posted by: Yeah right at Jan 11, 2010 2:08:02 AM

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has regrown adult teeth. And I invite you to view my blog: http://regrowhappyteeth.blogspot.com/

I'm collecting information for a book on people who have regrown teeth, and have talked or emailed with a few such souls. The more that people know this is possible, the more likely it will be for others to achieve this, though I'm still working on regrowing my damaged teeth and missing wisdom teeth.

And here's an article I wrote on bad dentistry:

A lot of people loose their teeth to malpractice but their dentists don't own up to it.

Posted by: Seattle woman at Feb 6, 2010 4:34:17 AM


Posted by: ily at Apr 5, 2010 3:29:40 PM

I have a question? Say I did have the inplanted tissue which grew into a tooth. What would tell it to stop growing? What if it just kept on growing, the root coming out of my jaw and the tooth pushing your jaw open (Assuming it was a bottom tooth). It's a frightening thought and a reason why I won't be the first to try the treatment. That said I'd rather have a natural tooth than an inplant. I don't trust dentists.

Posted by: Willz Guild at Apr 9, 2010 7:12:26 PM

i like this part of the blog: ""These are unique in their ability to form any of the tissues that make up the body. ""

Posted by: free dental care at Apr 29, 2010 3:10:57 PM

localized gene manipulation + p21 knock out = tissue regen

Posted by: just do it at May 20, 2010 2:41:41 PM

You can grow a third set of teeth on your own. I have had multiple sets of wisdom teeth and extra teeth in the roof of my mouth.

Posted by: teeth at Jun 22, 2010 1:52:30 PM

when the dentist started pulling my front top teeth nearly 4 yrs ago i noticed shortly after the teeth had been pulled that i felt like i was teething again, i went back to the dentist and said i feel like i am growing the teeth back, the dentist told me theres no way, but she took an xray anyways, and sure enough there was a front top tooth that looked just like a baby tooth that had formed, i have found that everytime they pulled another one of my teeth while the gums where still bleeding and healing i would start forming more teeth, but as soon as the gums got hard and healed up again the teeth that had been cutting thru would seem to halt their progress, so i began to realizes that adult gums are like concrete new teeth just cant push thru it easily until the gums are made loose and pliable again by cutting them or pulling another tooth, now all my top teeth are pulled, and the last 2 teeth where only pulled about 3 months ago on the top right, i am cutting a back top right molar a new one i can feel the points on the top right of the gum and on the inner right side of the gums, and i am forming a new top right smaller tooth as i can feel its point coming thru, i have been massagging the gums every night rubbing them and softening them up so that these teeth can cut thru. but theres got to be a way to soften the gums even more that is not as abrasive as cutting the gums you know. also when i was a child when my baby teeth where cutting thru on the bottom front i actually formed 2 sets of baby teeth and the dentist cut the extra ones out, so i am wondering if those of us who formed extra teeth as a child have a higher likelyhood of forming a 3rd set of teeth once our adult teeth are pulled. it does seem to be in the genes i think. but of course the day i realized that my teeth where going to have to be pulled out i began going thru a mental process where after they where pulled i told my body i was growing new one, and i just kept telling myself that mentally and kept telling myself it would grow new ones everyday, i do think that mind over matter have a huge influence on what our bodies do.

but i do find it very interesting that mine are starting to grow back, all that money i spent 3 months ago to have top and bottom full dentures made i think i may have wasted my money as hopefully i wont be able to wear them much longer as they are already very painful to wear the top dentures with those teeth cutting in, i stll have my bottom teeth yet to be pulled out but i can feel other teeth below the front last few bottom teeth, so i know once the bottom front teeth do get pulled that i will probably start cutting new teeth there.

why is it so hard for the average dentist to believe a patient when they tell them they are cutting teeth , they treated me like i was crazy and i didnt appreciate it, we know when we are cutting teeth its a painful process and the gums cut as the teeth push thru, and theres lot of pressure too , but as soon as i can feel the points of new teeth cut the gums some i know i am right and i went and showed the dentist and he was so stunned he brought in everyone at his office into the room to show them, he was so shocked.

so it is very possible everyone to grow teeth but i do think genes play a huge role on who is able to regrow their own teeth.

Posted by: angela castellani at Jul 26, 2010 1:32:41 AM