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Scientists working on innovative dental care
Updated: 4/3/2009 1:00:43 PM

Scientists working on innovative dental care Instead of opting for dentures or fake teeth, people may one day be able to improve their dental health by growing a pair or a set of new teeth, according to Australian scientists.

By using stem cells, researchers have been able to grow new tissue around the teeth of animals, which may be the first step in creating a whole new set of teeth, the Sydney Herald reports. If it works, a person's new teeth could be grown in a laboratory using stem cells taken from a patient's baby or wisdom teeth.

The research is being led by professor Mark Bartold and Dr Stan Gronthos, of Adelaide's Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, as well as with dental stem cell researcher Songtao Shi, who first discovered baby teeth contained stem cells in 2003.

They are reportedly focusing on growing teeth on sheep and pigs, who suffer from some of the same dental health conditions as humans, such as periodontal disease which can lead to tooth loss.

However, though the scientists' research appears to be promising, they told the news provider they still have "a long way to go" before they will be able to grow teeth in humans.

Until then, people may want to continue with their routine teeth cleanings and dental checkups.

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