Researchers at the University of Southern California have been studying alligators in an attempt to figure out how they are able to regenerate a lost tooth…up to 50 times.
Scientists at Harvard have been trying to regenerate teeth in rats by using lasers. They’ve been able to regenerate some tissue in the tooth but not the enamel. One of the interesting things about all this research is that primitive animals like alligators and sharks have stem cells below each tooth. We might have other advantages, but humans don’t have stem cells below their teeth.
How our teeth grow
Humans are diphydont, which means that we develop two sets of teeth. Our Primary teeth, or baby teeth, are a set of 20 temporary teeth that begin to develop when we are still in the embryonic stage and begin to fall out when we’re about 6 years old.
Permanent teeth fully replace your set of 32 primary teeth. These adult teeth develop as the adult jaw develops. The last teeth to develop, between the ages of 17 and 21, are the wisdom teeth.
Since science hasn’t figured out how we can regenerate teeth, we have to repair them when they chip. Even though the enamel that covers our teeth is the strongest tissue in our body, it can still chip, crack, or fracture. If you have a chipped tooth, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Treat the tooth gently before your appointment:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you are experiencing pain
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent infection
- Eat soft foods
- Avoid biting down or putting any more stress on the chipped tooth
- Place a piece of sugarless gum of soft wax on the tooth if has a sharp or jagged edge that can cut your lips or tongue
The procedure for repairing a chipped tooth depends on the health of the tooth.
Here are some options for repairing a chipped tooth:
- If the chip is small and on a front tooth, a composite resin veneer is a quick and cheap answer.
- A filling is also a great way to fix a small chip.
- If a larger piece of the tooth is missing, a dental crown can be placed on the tooth.
- Dental veneers are a great solution .
- A root canal may be necessary if the chip exposes the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp of the tooth.
Let us fix your chipped teeth
If you chip a tooth, contact us for an appointment as soon as possible. We take care of emergencies within business hours of the same day.