Are you a sentimental parent? After the tooth fairy deposits treasure underneath your child’s pillow, do you store the teeth away, lovingly wrapped up in tissue paper? While you might cherish your child’s lost teeth, there is a more valuable use for them. Scientists have discovered that lost baby teeth, extracted wisdom teeth, and even lost permanent teeth contain a rich deposit of stem cells. In fact, tooth stem cell banks are quickly becoming popular among parents who want to protect their children’s future health. As your children’s dentist in Ankeny, IA points out, dental stem cells may hold the key to future scientific advances and medical cures.
Stem Cells: A Blank Slate
Stem cells are extremely valuable to scientists because they are functionless cells that can take on the properties of other cells. Under the right circumstances, for example, stem cells could become heart or bone marrow cells. Stem cells are already being used to treat disease and injury, and as scientists learn more about the power of these cells, they expect to find more and more uses for them. Until recently, scientists used two primary types of stem cells: embryonic and adult stem cells. However, the harvesting of embryonic stem cells poses troubling moral questions, and it can be difficult to obtain viable adult stem cells. Today, however, umbilical cord blood and teeth are fast becoming the go-to sources for stem cells.
Stem Cell Banks
Many new parents are taking advantage of cord blood banks. Immediately after their child’s birth, they send the umbilical cord blood to a facility where scientists extract the stem cells, freeze them, and store them for future use. However, if you did not take advantage of this technology, it is not too late to invest in your child’s future health. Scientists are establishing dental stem cell banks all over the country, giving families the opportunity to protect their children’s future with non-invasive, convenient stem cell harvesting.
If you are interested in using a dental stem cell bank, you should make the decision before your child loses his or her first tooth. Your pediatric dentist will partner with a bank, and as soon as a tooth comes out, it will be shipped to the storage facility. There scientists will extract stem cells from the dental pulp, grow more cells in a culture, and freeze them for future use. Hopefully, your child will never need these cells. However, should a health emergency arise in the future, he or she already has a supply of stem cells available for medical treatment. Additionally, when frozen, these cells will last indefinitely. In 20 or 30 years when scientists have discovered even more uses for stem cells, your child may benefit from these future developments. That’s putting the “wisdom” in wisdom teeth!
About Dental Impressions: If you are interested in using a dental stem cell bank to protect your child’s future, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. Call Dental Impressions at 515-965-0230 to schedule your consultation. We are proud to serve patients of all ages in Ankeny, Alleman, Elkhart, Bondurant, and the surrounding areas.