Dental implants usually consist of a cone-shaped titanium screw with a roughened or smooth surface and are placed in the jaw bone. While implant surgery may be performed as an outpatient procedure, healing times vary widely and successful implantation is a result of multiple visits to different clinicians, including general dentists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists and periodontists. Implant patients must allow two to six months for healing and if the implant is installed too soon, it is possible that the implant may fail. The subsequent time to heal, graft and eventually put into place a new implant may take up to 18 months.
The work of Dr. Mao and his laboratory, however, holds manifold promise: a more natural process, faster recovery times and a harnessing of the body's own potential to re-grow tissue that will not give out and could ultimately last the patient's lifetime.
"A key consideration in tooth regeneration is finding a cost-effective approach that can translate into therapies for patients who cannot afford or who aren't good candidates for dental implants," Dr. Mao says. "Cell-homing-based tooth regeneration may provide a tangible pathway toward clinical translation."
Dr. Ira B. Lamster, dean of the College of Dental Medicine, stated: "This research provides an example of what is achievable when today's biology is applied to common clinical problems. Dr. Mao's research is a look into the future of dental medicine."
|Contact: Alex Lyda|
Columbia University Medical Center