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Posted on March 23, 2015
From the Desk of “Why do we have Wisdom Teeth?” Well, I can’t answer that question on a metaphysical level, but I did read a recent article that could give a pretty good answer. An online science journal recently published a study showing that extracted wisdom teeth could be used to harvest stem cells from the pulp tissue. In coordination with Pittsburgh Dental School, Dr. Syed-Picard used dental pulp stem cells to grow corneal cells called karatocytes. These are the cells that can grow a human cornea or outer lens on an eyeball! This experiment was done successfully in mice without cornea rejection, and has great promise to grow other types of cells. This study was reported in the ADA news March 2, 2015. As a pediatric dentist, it makes me think of all those kids that one day may be banking their wisdom teeth in cold storage for use later. I might just ask my daughter’s oral surgeon, Dr. Felton, about that. That should get his attention. Have a great Spring Break. Maybe relax with some good science fiction. For questions on this blog or other topics of pediatric dentistry email me at and check out our new website Yours, Greg