More Teeth Means More Human

Teeth: a future renewable natural resource?
Most vertebrates have continuous tooth generation, meaning that lost teeth are replaced with new teeth. Mammals, however, including humans, have teeth that are generally only replaced once, when milk teeth are replaced with permanent teeth.

Researchers have now shown that continuous tooth generation can be induced in mammals. [...] As a result of stimulating this particular signalling, one mouse molar developed dozens of new teeth with normal dentin, tooth enamel and developing roots. The crowns were, however, simple and cone-shaped, unlike the typically more complex multiple cusps of mouse molars. [...]

It is reasonable to conjecture that the potential for continuous tooth generation may also have been retained in humans. Who knows: perhaps dentists in the distant future may be able to use this million-year-old regenerative potential to make their patients grow new teeth to replace lost ones.

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11 Responses:

  1. 4zumanga says:

    I have a close friend who is currently growing his fourth set of teeth. He was told this is very uncommon but not unknown.

  2. rly says:

    I totally need this to happen.

  3. hochi666 says:

    I would be quite happy were genetic engineering to get behind this concept. I just had a tooth pulled last week because I'd let it go too far after it was chipped. How about it, science?

    • drakkenfyre says:

      Yeah. I mean, if they can make an 80-year-old man able to have erections you can hang a towel on, and if they can transplant a dead person's face onto a smoker, you'd think they'd be able to do something about teeth. Something more than the carpentry we currently call dentistry.

  4. niczar says:

    Awesome innovation, providing rodents with regenerating teeth. He should get a patent on this one, quick!

    In our next episode: be amazed as Dr Redundant gives flippers to cetaceans, and multi-chambered stomachs to cattle!

  5. unwoman says:

    A close family friend of my mom got a third set of teeth in as an adult, and her son has a third set too.

    Not quite the same as regenerative teeth though.

    Can you imagine having to wear braces twice though, and have wisdom teeth removed twice? I guess if things go right, your teeth are the right size for your mouth at whatever stage they come in...

  6. You could just start flossing you know.

  7. tinhuviel says:

    This made me think of Shriekback's song "Big Sharp Teeth," which got me to thinking that you may not know about Barry being on MySpace. If you're interested, he's HERE.

    Cheers!