Every day, countless Americans struggle to get by with missing teeth. Besides causing chewing difficulties and social embarrassment, missing teeth can also promote all sorts of dental problems, including shifting, temporomandibular joint disorder and more. For years, scientists have been looking for new ways to solve this common problem. Now, some believe the answer might be found within the mouths of one of Earth’s oldest living fossils.
How Do Alligators Do it?
One of the planet’s most ancient creatures, alligators have been around for millions of years. During this time, they’ve evolved special ways of dealing with tooth loss. Over a single lifetime, one alligator can replace a missing tooth up to 50 times. Recently, researchers out of the University of Southern California conducted a study to determine exactly how this reptile replaces lost teeth.
According to their findings, alligators have two backups ready to go for every existing tooth. Beneath the adult tooth, lies a baby tooth; beneath that, lies a stem cell which is ready to become a baby tooth as needed. Ultimately, the scientists hope their research will someday allow dental practitioners to stimulate human tooth regeneration by providing a simple chemical injection.
Until that Day
Someday, dentists may be able to regrow lost teeth. That said, if you’re missing teeth, you don’t have to wait for some futuristic miracle cure. Modern dental implants do a fantastic job of replacing natural teeth. Durable and attractive, implants allow patients to eat just as they would if they had all their natural teeth. Each implant also looks just like a natural tooth, allowing patients to escape the social stigmas that come with missing teeth.
Do Yourself a Favor
These days, there’s simply no need to live with tooth loss. If you’re missing one or more teeth, contact Dr. Dunayer to learn how dental implants can restore your confidence and your ability to eat the foods you once loved.