The unwanted so called wisdom tooth has now turned out to be a boon in modern science biologically. For most of us wisdom tooth has been an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed. Now a groundbreaking research has revealed that wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissues that have the potential to create stem cells. Thus everyone can carry their own stem cells repository for their future use when needed.
Let me brief you on what are stem cells and why are they important to us. Well stem cells are the undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types commonly, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells which are commonly found in tissues such as brain, bone marrow, blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscles, skin and liver. These stem cells mature into other organs and tissues like bones, heart muscle, nerve cells, etc.
Till date these stem cells were derived from the embryo, placenta, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, bone marrow. Stem cells are converted to specialized cells that can be used to repair and regenerate the damaged or diseased tissues. Recently researchers have found these stem cells in the soft pulp inside the tooth that contain a population of cells known as mesenchymal stromal cells that are similar to cells found in bone marrow.
As the wisdom teeth are commonly discarded as clinical waste, the stem cells inside them can be collected and frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored for many years. Stem cells extracted from wisdom teeth have shown promising results in regenerating damaged bones, cornea and cardiac muscles.
Stem cells taken from the dental pulp tissue have proven to regenerate nerves in damaged spinal cord, regenerate pancreatic cell lineage used for therapy in diabetes. Dental pulp from deciduous (baby) teeth is an advantageous source of young stem cells.
Now you can preserve your own stem cells for future regenerative therapies. You can discuss with your dentist before planning for extraction so that they can help you out in the further procedure for stem cell banking.