If you’re one of those who promptly puts your children’s fallen teeth underneath their pillows and have them believe that the tooth fairy replaces them with a coin, it’s time to kick the habit.
As a Dubai-based dental clinic urged families at a special event on November 3, “Don’t hide your children’s future health under their pillows.”
Speaking to XPRESS, Dr Satyaki Arora, specialist paediatric dentist at the Clover Medical Centre, which organised the event, said, “The primary or milk teeth in children contain mesenchymal stem cells that can be extracted, stored and used at a later date for regenerative therapy. These primitive cells can differentiate themselves and as such help in the repair of damaged organs at a later date.”
He said the cells can be used in the treatment of a range of diseases, including cancers, muscle degeneration, bone marrow, heart and kidney disorders by cultivating the cells in the damaged areas.
Dr Arora said, “We all know that the umbilical cord is rich with stem cells. But only a few are aware that dental pulp cells are also a precious source.”
He said children develop 20 primary or milk teeth in the first three years of their lives and go through a transition between six-12 years, when the milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth.
“Each of these teeth has enough stem cells which can be preserved in a cryo bank and used in the future.” The doctor said the clinic has a tie-up with the Dubai Healthcare City-based Future Health that stores extracted cells under required protocols for a fee.
He said while the extraction of the tooth is free, preserving it in a cryo bank would entail an upfront cost of Dh3,500 with different plans to pay the remaining amount in instalments. Roughly, the cost of storing stem cells from a single tooth after necessary diagnostic tests are done would come up to around Dh13,500 over 25 years.
He said subject to tests, one tooth would be sufficient to get a yield of five-10 stem cells which can be cultivated should the need arise.
“We advise parents to contact us when they notice a wiggly tooth in their children, so we can extract it and send it for necessary examination and storage,” added Dr Arora.
The seminar was addressed by Seif Madanat, a clinical pharmacist with intensive training in stem cells.