Bones are the scaffolding of our bodies, without which we have no structure or anchoring points for muscles, tendons and teeth. As strong as they are though, bones often break or suffer from diseases like cancer, osteoporosis or genetic disorders which impede their proper development.
While a broken bone can heal and partially regenerate, in the cases of severe bone defects or injuries doctors have long relied on artificial replacements and various other artificial fixes due to the limitations in bone regeneration. Everything from joint replacements to dental implants has
relied on synthetic materials anchored to existing bone. This approach is useful and helps many people but has its limitations. Regenerative dental expert Dr Shinji Kuroda, Junior Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Implantology and Regenerative Dental Medicine at the Tokyo Medical
and Dental University, explains that in some cases, infection issues arise from placing foreign objects in the body, and in the case of dental implants there is often not enough bone to anchor implants to. For example, following a tooth extraction the bone, within which the tooth sockets sit,
the alveolar ridge, experiences a reduction. 'This reduction is a physiological process and results in reduced stability and aesthetic quality of the dental implants used to replace the extracted tooth,' observes Kuroda. 'Despite numerous strategies to prevent this physiological change, such
as immediate implant placement into the fresh extraction site, definitive treatment strategies have not yet been discovered to mitigate this bone loss.' In situations like this or in the case of congenital defects that lead to severe bone damage or loss, the best way forward lies in the promise
of regenerative medicine techniques to regrow bone.
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