Adult Stem Cells to Rebuild the Jaw

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Teeth of a model.
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Adult stem cells could be used in an innovative technique to reproduce bone in patients lacking bone in the jaw. The new method was developed to rebuild the dental arch with an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia for people who are not able to undergo certain types of dental procedures. The procedure, developed by the University of Freiburg (Germany) has been performed in Italy by Luigi Montesani, a surgeon at Tufts University in Boston. “The insertion of implants and procedures for bone augmentation,” explained Montesani, “are a priority when rehabilitating patients who have lost their teeth.”

An adequate quantity of bone, is fundamental in order to successfully insert implants, while often, losing teeth results in bone loss that makes it impossible to give patients integrated bone implants. For this reason, a new technique was developed at the University of Freiburg, which uses mesenchymal stem cells, which are removed in an outpatient procedure from the posterior iliac crest using a needle, while the patient is under local anesthesia.

After collecting and concentrating them in a special matrix, they are inserted into the defective bone during the same session “In about 4 months,” continued Montesani, “they produce the quantity of bone necessary to correct the defect and the implants can then be normally inserted, while the prosthesis, or the new teeth, are implanted after another 4 months.” According to a study on 150 operations performed using this technique at the University of Freiburg, Mainz, and Groningen (Holland), it was determined that the quantity of bone obtained is the same as in procedures, which take pieces of bone from another part of the patient’s body, usually the jaw, hip, or cranium in a much more traumatic operation.

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