Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Growing Teeth

PostedMarch 11, 2007

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins:  Lose a tooth and you might be able to grow a new one, at least the root, from stem cells (and not the controversial embryonic type).

Songtao Shi:  We still have stem cells in our bodies.  That is the kind of stem cell we used.

Randy Atkins:  Songtao Shi, a University of Southern California dental researcher, says wisdom or baby teeth cells are perfect.  He’s engineered scaffolds for them to grow on, and has already erected new roots and supporting ligaments, in pigs.

Songtao Shi:  As a clinician, I believe the root is more important than any part in the tooth in terms of function.

Randy Atkins:  Add a standard dental crown and Shi says the pigs are back to their favorite pastime.  Humans might be eating with such re-grown roots in the near future.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.