Wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences have found a good use for them. The dental pulp from wisdom teeth might one day be used as a source of corneal transplant for scarred corneal tissue due to injury or infection.
Usually, corneal blindness is treated with corneal implants. But donor shortages occur, and at times, a patient’s body rejects the implants. The adult cornea is approximately.5 millimeter thick and is comprised of 5 layers, including the stroma. The stroma is composed of tiny, parallel collagen fibrils. This special formation gives the cornea its clarity. Stems cells from the dental pulp of the wisdom tooth (third molar) can be extracted and turned into corneal stromal cells.
Engineered corneal stromal cells, called keratocytes, were injected into the corneas of healthy mice. The cells were integrated without rejected.
Further research will be done to determine whether dental pulp stem cells that have been transformed into keratocytes can be used correct corneal scarring in animals. It is hoped that one day a patient’s own third-molar dental pulp can be used for corneal implants.
This post is sponsored by the San Jose dentists of Hillsdale Dental Care.