Stem cells are generic cells that can divide and form specialized cells. They are the first type of cell a newly-conceived baby possesses, and they stay in the human body throughout life. They can be obtained from some body tissues and used to promote healing, such as regeneration of skin tissue after a severe burn injury. They can also help in treating some diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
There are embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The controversy we see in news reports concerns embryonic stem cells. But there is no controversy about adult stem cells, and you can obtain your own stem cells from your teeth.
Obtaining and Preserving Your Stem Cells
Dental stem cells are relatively easy to obtain and have considerable medical value in the development of new medical therapies. By using your own stem cells for medical treatment, there is little risk of your body rejecting them. There is also less need for accompanying drugs, which might otherwise weaken your immune system.
At universities, research centers and hospitals worldwide, scientists are making amazing advancements, allowing families to recover stem cells for future use. As we age, the stem cells gradually lose their regenerative ability. That means that the earlier in life you obtain them, the more powerful they will be later on if you need them for healing.
StemSave is a company working to collect and store these stem cells. The company encourages dentists to play a greater role in their patients’ oral and overall health by helping them recover and cryo-preserve stem cells from their own teeth.
Stem Cells in Baby Teeth
The stem cells can be obtained from extracted wisdom teeth, from teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons, or from baby teeth. Those from baby teeth have been identified by researchers as the most powerful stem cells in the human body. They replicate more quickly and for a longer time period than stem cells from other tissues in the body.
The most accessible stem cells are found in baby canine teeth (also called cuspids or “fang” teeth), incisor teeth, or molars that have not lost their roots. If you have a child whose baby teeth are beginning to loosen, that is the best time to act.
Three Steps to Preserve Dental Stem Cells
- Enroll with StemSave. Dr. Greenhalgh is already enrolled and is familiar with what needs to be done. He can give you the details about how to enroll.
- Contact Dr. Greenhalgh for an appointment so he can recover the tooth. StemSave will send an individualized transportation kit to our office ahead of time. It includes a vial with specific nutrients to keep the tooth intact, and a temperature bag to protect the fragile stem cells during transit.
- Dr. Greenhalgh will verify that the tooth has healthy tissue and will use the kit to send it to the StemSave Laboratory.
StemSave will extract the stem cells from the tooth, make sure they are viable, and preserve them with their state-of-the-art cryogenic technology. Then they will notify you and Dr. Greenhalgh that the cells are securely stored and will give you contact information. Please keep it in a safe place, along with the appropriate medical records. You will need it in the future if you want to use the preserved stem cells.
To learn more about stem cells in teeth and how Dr. Greenhalgh can help you obtain and preserve them, please contact our Lakewood dental office today at 303-988-9060.