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Dental implants could be grown inside patients' mouths


May 28, 2010

Dr. Mao's microchannelled scaffold

Dr. Mao's microchannelled scaffold

Conventional dental implants are typically screwed into the patient’s jaw bone, require visits to several types of clinicians, take two to six months to heal, and are still subject to failure. Not exactly an ideal solution to missing teeth. A professor of dental medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, however, has devised a technique wherein implants could be grown in the empty tooth socket, right inside the patient’s mouth.

Dr. Jeremy Mao started with a tooth-shaped scaffold made of microchannelled natural materials, infused with a growth factor. In an animal-model study, he placed that structure in a recipient’s empty tooth socket, then caused their stem cells to home (migrate) onto the scaffold. It resulted not only in the growth of a new tooth-like structure, but also in the regeneration of periodontal ligaments and the formation of new alveolar bone.

Dr. Mao believes that a complete tooth could be grown in as little as nine weeks.

Previously, such “tooth-growing” would have required the use of harvested stem cells, and would have to be done in an external environment such as a petri dish. By growing within the tooth socket, the implant integrates with the surrounding tissue in a way that would otherwise be impossible. Because it’s made from the recipient’s own cells, it will continuously regenerate and could even last their lifetime.

The Columbia University research could mean all the difference for certain patients. “A key consideration in tooth regeneration is finding a cost-effective approach that can translate into therapies for patients who cannot afford or who aren’t good candidates for dental implants,” Dr. Mao said. “Cell-homing-based tooth regeneration may provide a tangible pathway toward clinical translation.”

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth


Russell Taylor

O.K. that is SO COOL! Sign me up I need this right now! :-)


I need this kind of treatment too but I wonder if this can translate to other bone & tissue regrowth like spinal damage?

Tony Wood

Hi, I like this, Can I be testperson? Stef, Holland


Well, I certainly fit the bill. Need any testers?



Facebook User

sign me up too!!

David Larson

WE now have breast implant, butts implant, tooth implant etc. pretty soon, mankind could live forever with all the implant with nothing origin. Even the brain could be implant with transfer data like we doing with a Hard Disk. Fascinating. If this happened, we need a few more larger livable planets because earth will not growth but dieing.


Totally Awesome, Dr Mao deserves a medal. We need to reconise and reward the genius of people like Dr Mao with public recognition and monetry recognition or reward. This is an amazing gift to mankind. Dr Jeremy Mao, I salute you. Should you require candidates for testing of this wonderful invention please count me in. Wayne


If anyone needs this process, it\'s me. Not that many others don\'t. All senior citizens need help, if they don\'t have insurance. Sure, I\'ll submit to a test of this new technology. Losing teeth like crazy. At 73, doesn\'t look good for me. Also need the heart stem cell treatment. don\'t know which will get me but I guess I\'ll be the last one considered as a test subject.


Wow! When would this be available worldwide? Can\'t wait...

Julius Siador

Wow this is great news! I am going to ask my dentist about these types of dental implants in Sacramento. Is this still in the research phase or are dentists actually able to do this now?

Mia Ken

This is amazing technology! My husband received Hamilton dental implants a few years ago and he has loved them. It is amazing how vastly implants can brighten your smile and improve your life. I would love to hear more about this research!

Holly James
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