Our teeth are intricately and seemingly inseparably tied to our water-bound relatives. The enamel of our teeth has been linked to the scales of early fish, and our dream of being able to replace our teeth seems tied in with sharks. Sharks are well known for being top predators, largely due to the fact that they have a never ending conveyor belt of razor sharp teeth which are replaced before they can become decayed. Scientists at the University of Sheffield Department of Animal and Plant Sciences have gained some key insight into the mechanisms that allow sharks to constantly replace their teeth during their lifetime.
Sharks v. Mammals
The epithelial cells which are responsible for this dental development are called the dental lamina. Interestingly enough, humans also have these cells, but our cells differ from sharks’ in that there are only two sets of teeth that are formed before the cells are lost: our baby and adult teeth. The researchers have identified special genes in sharks and other sea animals which cause the dental lamina to initially create teeth in uterine development and then re emerge when new teeth are needed.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
The scientists have only identified the genes responsible for the endless development of teeth in sharks, so unfortunately I would not hold my breath about being able to magically regrow lost teeth any time soon. There are, however, many options available today for people who are missing teeth, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Besides, these might be better than regrowing your teeth. It can take ten years for your natural teeth to grow. Nobody wants to wait that long. And nobody really wants the shark solution, either, where we’re constantly losing teeth.
Far better is to keep your natural teeth healthy and strong. It is important not to put off going to the dentist, as it can cost more in the long run. If you live in the Altamonte Springs area and are looking to address your missing teeth, please visit Dr. Michael L. Weinstock at Weinstock, DDS. We can help address any questions or concerns you may have, and find the treatment that is right for you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (407) 834-6446.