BETHESDA, Md. -- When he was a child, biochemist Jonathan Schuermann loved to ride roller coasters. But before every ride, he had to give his dentures to his father, who feared they would fall out when Schuermann screamed.
Afflicted with a rare genetic disorder, ectodermal dysplasia, Schuermann, 27, of San Antonio had only four pointed teeth at age 3, when he got his first set of dentures. Although he got dental implants at 12, he is excited about a discovery announced last week - - that adult stem cells harvested from baby or wisdom teeth may allow him and others to grow new teeth naturally.
Pamela Gehron Robey of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research said stem cells from baby teeth can develop into tooth-generating cells. Scientists transplanted the cells into mice and found that it induced the formation of bone and dentin, the hard substance under tooth enamel.
The discovery also holds great promise for restoring tissues destroyed by gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, Robey said.
Scripps Howard News Service
Copyright The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.