Currently, dentures and dental implants are the only options for replacing lost teeth. However, scientists are envisioning a future where we grow our own replacement teeth. Seems like sci-fi? It could actually be a reality, thanks to a recent discovery by Rochester researchers.
University geneticists pinpointed a gene called Osr2, which appears to be responsible for preventing additional tooth formation after a certain age. When mice were bred to lack this gene, they grew extra teeth. The geneticists also realized that Osr2 works in a deep cell layer with other genes to ensure teeth grow all in a row.
Dental and genetic experts are hopeful that this discovery will eventually lead to a medical method of growing more teeth when we’ve lost them, ultimately making dentures and implants obsolete.
The study also showed evidence of Osr2’s role in the formation of a cleft palate, which could lead to a better understanding and prevention of this type of birth defect.
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