Hate going to the dentist? Can’t stand the sound of the drill or the smell of powdered tooth? Afraid of anaesthetic injections or getting gassed? Worry no more. Those same cagey individuals that brought you The Glubber may make contemporary dental operations obsolete.
Researchers at Tokyo University have taken stem cells and used them to give a mouse some new teeth. The cells were taken from a mouse embryo and cultivated, growing a new tooth “seed,” a lump of tissue with the genetic ingredients needed to grow into a tooth that was then implanted to in place of a lost molar.
Over about a month and a half, the tooth sprouted and grew to match the dimensions of its neighbors, with the same hardness and qualities of any normal tooth, including nervous and vascular connections that most replacement teeth can’t duplicate. Someday in the future, a dentist might be able to fill a cavity by just slapping on some painless organic gel and sending you home. Like the aforementioned fish, the tooth also glows in the dark, for display purposes.
In the research team’s experiments, the fluorescent glowing dye was a side point, but it isn’t hard to imagine bio-luminescent add-ons catching on in the future. Imagine showing off your new glowing teeth to your friends, or even growing a full head of fluorescent pink hair. It could mean a whole bio-punk movement: body modification taken to the next glowing level. We’ll never sleep again.