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Type and qualification of tooth stem cells


In 2003, Dr Songtao Shi, a pediatric dentist at the U.S. National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, discovered and published that primary teeth contained stem cells, SHED: Stem cells from Human Exfoliated Deciduous teeth. SHED have unusually high proliferation rates, are found in relatively high abundance, are capable of many population doublings, and are able to differentiate into neuronal clusters. Adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and mesenchymal stem cells present in this pulp material.

Baby tooth cells generally contain stem cells which multiply rapidly and can differentiate into several other cell types. Baby teeth, also called 'milk' or 'deciduous' teeth, appear from the age of about six months and fall out when the child is aged between five and twelve years old.

The healthy pulps of deciduous teeth are a rich source of viable stem cells. Scientific data supports that stem cells isolated from healthy pulp of deciduous teeth are highly proliferative.

• The ideal deciduous tooth for stem cell recovery is a canine or incisor that has just started to loosen, has more than a third of the root structure left intact, and is not extracted for reasons such as infection or associations with pathology.

• Supernumerary or mesodens are another ideal source for dental stem cells. In most cases when these teeth are removed, they still have a complete root, intact blood supply and healthy pulp.

• The pulps of naturally exfoliated teeth or teeth that have fallen out on their own are most likely necrotic, as they have been separated from their blood supply.