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It's Not Just About the Cord Blood Anymore

Boston-area researchers are investigating the potential health benefits of stem cells found in teeth, says the Boston Globe's Carolyn Johnson, and using the cells they find to generate dental pulp that could be used to avoid painful procedures like root canals. At Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, researchers are working on growing whole teeth and are examining how zebrafish are able to grow back their teeth, Johnson says. And some businesses have even begun storing dental stem cells alongside cells found in umbilical cord blood. Unlike embryonic stem cells, tooth cells are more limited, and the research is focused on regenerative dentistry, Johnson says. But researchers say that in the next 10 to 15 years, stem cells can be used in the dental clinic to change the way root canals and dental implants are done.