The numerous health and dental advantages of wisdom teeth extraction have been well-documented. Patients are less susceptible to infection, damage to adjacent teeth and painful abscesses when their wisdom teeth have been removed. However, a less prominent major benefit has recently been identified. Wisdom teeth house valuable potent adult stem cells that can be directed to form any type of cell in the body, presenting a possible treatment for unforeseen conditions that may affect patients in the future.
When an oral surgeon removes the wisdom teeth, the stem cells can be harvested and stored for a variety of uses. Stem cells are already being used as therapies for illnesses like muscular dystrophy and cancer. Additional applications may be on the horizon. For example, researchers are exploring whether such stem cells can be used to re-grow a natural replacement for a missing tooth. Stem cells also may have potential to treat a variety of systemic conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, among others.
Because the stem cells are housed in the dental pulp, any tooth that has been extracted or fallen out, including baby teeth, can serve as a source of the cells. When using wisdom teeth, it’s best to extract the stem cells from an adolescent patient, which provides extra incentive to have the wisdom teeth removed as early as possible.
Harvesting and storing the stem cells is a straightforward, simple process. The stem cells can be readily removed from the pulp as soon after a tooth’s extraction as possible, as the pulp becomes less viable as more time passes following the separation of the pulp from its blood supply. Dr. Steven Koos, a dual-degree oral surgeon, will then store the cells in a personalized kit, and the stem cells will be transported to a storage facility, where they will be cryogenically preserved.
If you are planning to have your wisdom teeth removed in Chicago, ask Dr. Koos about steps that can be taken to preserve the stem cells found in the teeth. This safe, non-controversial source of stem cells that are compatible with your body’s unique biological composition may give you the opportunity to benefit from your wisdom tooth extraction for decades to come.