The use of stem cells for bone grafting
Stem cells are special cells that are able to develop into a wide range of cell types from muscle cells to brain cells. With age, the amount of stem cells we have rapidly decline. We are able to use a type of adult stem cell, called a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), to form new bone. MSCs have a unique property in that they are considered “immunologically privileged”, that is they do not elicit an immune response from the body thus they cannot be rejected. We obtain them from a commercial tissue bank and mix them with allogenic bone (which serves as a scaffold) and use this combination for large sinus lift grafting, one of the two FDA approved uses for MSCs (the other is spinal fusion).
THE RESTORATIVE PROPERTIES OF STEM CELLS
Stem cells are unique because they drive the natural healing process throughout your life. They can heal and restore skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, nerves and other tissues when injured.
As a result, amazing new medical treatments are being developed to treat a range of diseases contemporary medicine currently deems difficult or impossible to treat. Among them are:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Brain Injuries
- Heart Disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Periodontal Disease
- Sports Injuries
- Cosmetic and Anti-aging Applications
While stem cells can be found in most tissues of the body, they are usually buried deep, are few in number and are similar in appearance to surrounding cells. With the discovery of stem cells in teeth, an accessible and available source of stem cells has been identified.
The tooth is nature’s “safe” for these valuable stem cells, and there is an abundance of these cells in baby teeth, wisdom teeth and permanent teeth. The stem cells contained within teeth are capable of replicating themselves and can be readily recovered at the time of a planned dental procedure. Living stem cells found within extracted teeth were routinely discarded every day, but now, with the knowledge from recent medical research, your Doctor provides you the opportunity to save these cells for future use in developing medical treatments for your family.
Aside from being the most convenient stem cells to access, dental stem cells have significant medical benefits in the development of new medical therapies. Using one’s own stem cells for medical treatment means a much lower risk of rejection by the body and decreases the need for powerful drugs that weaken the immune system, both of which are negative but typical realities that come into play when tissues or cells from a donor are used to treat patients.
Further, the stem cells from teeth have been observed in research studies to be among the most powerful stem cells in the human body. Stem cells from teeth replicate at a faster rate and for a longer period of time than do stem cells harvested from other tissues of the body.
Stem cells in the human body age over time and their regenerative abilities slow down later in life. The earlier in life that your family’s stem cells are secured, the more valuable they will be when they are needed most.
Stem cell recovery and cryopreservation from teeth also has many advantages:
Accessible – The stem cells contained within teeth are recovered at the time of a planned procedure: Extraction of wisdom teeth, baby teeth or other healthy permanent teeth.
Affordable – when compared with other methods of acquiring and preserving life saving stem cells: Peripheral blood, Bone Marrow, Cord blood etc, recovering Stem Cells from teeth is the most affordable and least invasive.
Convenience – the recovery of stem cells from teeth can be performed in the doctor’s office anytime when a healthy tooth is being extracted.
Ease of Use – The recovery of stem cells from teeth does not add any additional time on to a planned procedure. Your doctor does not require any additional equipment or training.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stem Cell Recovery and Cryopreservation from Teeth for future use
Why should someone recover and cryopreserve their own stem cells from teeth?
Healthy dental pulp contains stem cells that are among the most powerful stem cells in the body and replicate at a faster rate and for a longer period of time than other types of stem cells. Stem cells from teeth show great promise for future regenerative medical treatments of neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes, bone diseases and brain and nerve injuries.
Which teeth are candidates for stem cell recovery and cryopreservation?
Any extracted tooth with a healthy pulp contains stem cells. Wisdom teeth, baby teeth and other permanent teeth i.e. healthy teeth that are fractured and teeth recommended for extraction for orthodontic purposes are all candidates for stem cell recovery and cryopreservation.
At what age am I no longer eligible to recover and preserve stem cells from teeth?
Age does not seem to play a major factor. All extracted healthy teeth contain stem cells. The younger you are then the younger the cells and these may be more beneficial in future regenerative therapies.
Is one tooth enough or should I try to bank as many teeth as I can as the opportunities arise. I banked deciduous teeth, should I bank third molars?
Diseases of different severity or tissue defects of different size will undoubtedly require different amounts of stem cells to heal. Conceptually, the more teeth are banked, the greater the potential for sufficient stem cells to treat various diseases.