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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Wisdom Teeth Can Help Correct Blindness - January 5, 2016

In my last blog, I discussed how "wisdom teeth" got their name and that 90% of the world's population has or will have them.  Now, there's news that stem cells from wisdom teeth might actually help correct blindness and help fight other diseases.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that stem cells from dental pulp of extracted third molars (wisdom teeth) can be transitioned into cells of the eye's cornea.  They could also become a new source of corneal tissue made from the patient's own cells.

Corneal blindness affects millions of people and is typically treated with transplants.  But there are shortages of donors and there's a high risk the recipient could reject the donor tissue.  Therefore, using the patient's own cells could help avoid these problems.

Other research has shown that dental pulp stem cells can be used to make neural, bone and other cells.  They also could be used in regenerative therapies.  So it might be worth banking those stem cells.  Talk with your doctor or do a quick search of the Internet to find companies that will store stem cells for a fee.

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