Don’t worry about your child’s loss of teeth or if they have immature ones as doctors at AIIMS can re-grow them using stem cell technique by making a minute slit in their root.

“We at AIIMS are treating children with infected, immature teeth which result from traumatic injuries, by using locally available indigenous stem cells,” Dr Naseem Shah, Chief of the Centre for Dental Education and Research, AIIMS said.

She explained that the root forms the most important part of the tooth. It anchors the tooth within the bone and houses the pulp (tiny blood vessels and nerves) which extends to the underlying bone and helps to nourish and give feeling to the tooth.

Any trauma to the teeth may lead to infection and death of the pulp, infection in the bone and arrest of the root development. Such roots are very fragile and may fracture, ultimately leading to loss of tooth.

Conventional treatment for such teeth involves removal of dead pulp from root canal, followed by sealing of the canal with an inert material that occupies the space vacated by the removal of the pulp (known as root canal therapy).

However, in the new treatment, after the infection in root canals is controlled, bleeding is induced in the root canal by intentionally puncturing the tissues at the root end and a clot is allowed to be formed in the root canal.

The clot provides a scaffold into which various stem cells achieved stimulation at the root end and the adjoining bone. They then multiply and form dentin, bone or cementum, which deposits on the weak root walls as well as causes elongation of the root.

Explaining further, Dr Shah said, “The sources for stem cells are the dental pulp stem cells, periodontal ligament stem cells and bone marrow stem cells. Growth factors from apical tissues and the blood clot itself help in stimulation of these stem cells and regeneration of the tissues.”

In young children, front teeth are most often affected.

Loss of front teeth in young children and adolescents affects aesthetics and may cause psychological problems.

She informed that this method has been tried on 14 children in the age group of 9-16 years over the past four years.

“Now we are practising this method of treatment routinely for managing immature, non-vital teeth in young children after getting successful results in almost all our treated cases,” Dr Shah said.

She said, “This is the most cost effective treatment that can be done with stem cells. Here we do not need external expensive scaffold material as in case of treatment of other ailments with stem cells. And the outcome is predictable. There are no side effects either.”

More In: Health | Sci-Tech