Even though it sounds unreal, cryopreservation of stem cells in stem cell banks could soon become a reality, as scientist claim that baby teeth contain stem cells that help regenerate the body, and can thus save numerous lives.
All organs and tissue in our body started growing from stem cells, which are able to regenerate, divide, and repair the human body. Stem cells come from either embryonic stem cells, which are Embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development, or adult stem cells, which are the adult tissue. Both types can convert into other types of cells such as muscle or bone.
Therefore, baby teeth, as a source of stem cells, can be saves as biological insurance, which is not scientifically proven yet, but it is wise to preserve them in the case of a breakthrough.
This has led to the formation of the first stem cell banks for teeth, like Store-A-Tooth, The Tooth Bank, and StemSave. One can ship teeth to such businesses, and they extract the stem cells, store them in a culture where they can grow and are later put into cryopreservation.
However, the price for such a process is still high, Store-A-Tooth requires a $1,747 upfront fee and an additional $120 yearly fee.
According to experts, it is now too early to consider dental pulp stem cells as a source of cells for replacing or regenerating tissue, but they are aware that they can make bone, so we might be close to such an advanced medical technology.
Stem cells can be used for the treatments of injuries, illnesses, and diseases, like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, organ damage, various cancer, and spinal cord injuries.
Ben Scheven, senior lecturer in oral cell biology in the school of dentistry at the University of Birmingham, says:
“Research is still mostly in the experimental (preclinical) phase,” but “dental stem cells may provide an advantageous cell therapy for repair and regeneration of tissues.”
Joseph C. Laning, chief technology officer of Provia Laboratories LLC, a stem cell banking company, said that researchers have shown “promise in treating more complex disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury.”
Even though this technique has its issues and is often doubted, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry President Dr. Jade Miller, says:
“It’s really at its infancy, much of this research. There’s a very strong chance there’s going to be utilization for these stem cells, and they could be life-saving. The science is strong enough to show it’s not science fiction, there’s going to be a significant application, and I want to give my grandkids the opportunity to have those options.”
The future is unpredictable, so why not saving the teeth of your child as a way to ensure their healthy life?