Dental Tissue Engineering: Can This Tooth Be Saved?

We use our teeth to help us form our words, chew our food and even to smile. We brush, floss and clean them because our teeth are an important and necessary tool in our day-to-day lives.

And so, when dental trauma such as a knocked out or chipped tooth happens to a young child, there is – of course – cause for concern. Previously, there was sometimes no choice but to remove the tooth and either replace it with a fake one or leave that space empty altogether.

Today, dental tissue engineering can save the tooth or teeth.

How is the tooth treated using tissue engineering?

Teeth are hollow, like straws.  Nerves and blood vessels (dental pulp) enter a tooth through the end of the root, which is buried under the gums and supported in bone.

When a tooth first erupts into the mouth its roots are short and weak. A healthy pulp enables the tooth’s root to grow and become strong. When a tooth is knocked out or loose, the pulp tissue may die and the tooth may eventually be lost. Through the use of a technique called regenerative endodontics, dentists use principles of tissue engineering to form a new, healthy pulp that enables the root to continue its growth and save the tooth.

Using regenerative endodontics we can now save that tooth that normally would be considered a lost cause.

Should something traumatize your child’s tooth or teeth, it’s important that you get it checked out immediately, so that the true nature of damage and impact may be evaluated. It’s also important that your children learn to protect and value the health of their teeth. But in those instances where the tooth or teeth are threatened – for whatever reason – dental tissue engineering can help to save your child’s smile.

Learn more

For more information on Nationwide Children’s Section of Dental Surgery, click here.

Dennis McTigue, DDS
Dennis McTigue, DDS, is Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He leads the dental traumatology team at Nationwide Children's Hospital. His research interests focus on managing orofacial injuries in children and in guidance of children's behavior in the dental setting. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a Fellow of the International Association for Dental Traumatology.

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