Dental implant technology is constantly advancing, and seemingly every day a new dental implant technology is announced. However, many of these innovative ideas never make it out of the lab and into the dental office. It seems that at least one exciting technology is getting closer to being available: stem cell regeneration of bones.
As part of an ongoing clinical trial of the technology, researchers have announced that they were able to regrow a woman’s jaw, allowing them to secure dental implants in a person who was not considered a candidate before this technology.
Trauma Leads to Severe Jawbone Loss
In a published case report, researchers were attempting to help a 45-year-old woman who had lost seven of her front teeth due to serious facial trauma five years before. From the initial trauma and subsequent resorption of the bone, the woman had lost 75% of the bone that supported teeth.
The functional and aesthetic benefits of dental implants would have been ideal for this woman, but the bone loss made it impossible for her to get them. Even with traditional bone grafts, it would be impossible for her jaw to support the dental implants.
Building on a Scaffold
Even more common stem cell techniques were not adequate to replace this woman’s lost jawbone. So much bone had to be built that researchers needed a scaffold that would support the growing stem cells, encourage them to take the proper shape, but then dissolve into the created bone. For this, they chose b-tricalcium phosphate (b-TCP), which is rigid but porous, like a sponge. They mixed stem cells and progenitor cells and seeded them onto the scaffold about 30 minutes before placing it in the woman’s mouth. Stem cells are capable of differentiation into any body tissue, while progenitor cells are capable of limited differentiation, but are already slightly adapted to become certain types of tissues.
In this case, all the cells used were taken from the patient’s own bone marrow.
Researchers report that 80% of the woman’s lost bone–60% of her total bone mass–regenerated after four months. As a result, she had 85% of her original bone, which was considered adequate to support dental implants. After the dental implants were allowed to heal for six months, they were topped with a denture.
More People Can Get Dental Implants Than Ever
Although this technology isn’t yet available, it is still true that people who were previously rejected for dental implants can now get them. If you were told that you couldn’t get dental implants even a few years ago, it’s time to get a second opinion.
If you are looking for dental implants in San Diego, please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Strober Dental.