Humans have a grand total of fifty two teeth in their lifetime, which includes twenty baby teeth, and up to thirty two adult teeth. Although some people have supernumerary teeth, or teeth that appear in addition to the normal quota of teeth, these are relatively uncommon and are often quite small or peg shaped. In contrast American alligators have around eighty teeth, but are able to regenerate them roughly once a year. This can mean that an alligator has approximately 4,000 teeth during its lifetime, replacing its entire set of teeth fifty times. This ability to regenerate is obviously of great interest, given that Leeds City Dentalcare frequently sees patients who are missing one or more teeth.
A team of researchers carried out a detailed study of alligator teeth to see if they could understand how this occurred. Alligators have replacement teeth waiting in the tooth bed, something that is called the dental lamina and these experiments enabled the researchers to see exactly what happened to the mature and developing teeth. Their conclusion was that the dental lamina contains stem cells to help re-grow teeth. The next step is to see if those stem cells can be isolated and used to regenerate teeth in laboratory conditions.
In The Meantime Preventative Dentistry is your Best Option
This type of research is very exciting, but is probably decades away from producing a viable solution to re-growing missing teeth. In the meantime your best option is to make sure you have a good preventative dentistry regime. Your six monthly check-ups with our dentist in Leeds are an important part of this, as are your appointments for a scale and polish.
Preventative dentistry enables Dr David Brown, or other members of our dental team to check your mouth for any early signs of disease. At this stage you are unlikely to be aware anything is wrong as there probably won’t be any discomfort. The beauty of catching these early signs is that any treatment will be minimal, quicker to complete, and easier on the wallet.
Preventative Dentistry and Gum Disease
Gum disease is a real problem, and is one of the main reasons teeth are lost. The early signs can be easy to miss but are something that will be picked up on during your dental check-up. The health of your gums will be assessed, and a probe is used to measure the depths of the gum tissue nearest to the teeth. Healthy gums have a depth of between 3-4mm, whereas those with gum disease will have depths in excess of these figures. Regular measurements provide your dental team with a good picture of your gum health. If you subsequently develop any early signs of gum disease then quick action will ensure it doesn’t create any lasting damage.
Treatment for early gum disease, or gingivitis usually involves having your teeth thoroughly cleaned to help remove the first signs of inflammation in the gums. The next step is to make sure you pay closer attention to brushing and flossing each day, and your gums should improve within a few weeks. Preventing gum disease is vital, as this disease has been linked with numerous other health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.
Regular preventative dental care will help your mouth to remain healthy, improving the chances of your teeth lasting a lifetime. Booking a scale and polish at the same time will freshen up your smile and your breath, so although you may not have as many teeth as an alligator, they’ll definitely look better.