New "Patch" Regrows Missing Or Damaged Bone

In the future, dental surgeons will be able to rebuild bone in the gum area with new technology—changing the lives of millions of patients currently unable to get dental implants.

A new technique developed at the University of Iowa regenerates bones inside the body. The bone-regeneration kit uses a collagen "patch" seeded with genes needed to produce bones. In laboratory tests, the technique regrew enough bones to cover skull wounds in test animals. "We delivered the DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein and that’s how the protein is generated to enhance bone regeneration," Aliasger Salem of the University of Iowa said in a statement.

The experimental technique could have revolutionary potential for both dental surgery and plastic surgery—especially for patients with birth defects of the jaw. Using further refined versions of this technique, doctors could someday create bone anchors for dental implants in patients who currently lack the bone base for them. But while interesting (and game changing), it'll take a while for this technology to make its way into your dentist's offices. The technology is currently strictly proof of process and many issues, particularly regarding gum growth, still need to be solved before it can be applied to dental surgery.

[Image: Wikimedia user Coronation Dental Specialty Group]

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