Gum disease signals its presence to everyone you meet when the gums begin receding with the advent of the disease. It is not just the gums and bone structures supporting teeth that diminish with the later stages of gum disease—it has a huge negative effect on self esteem. There's good news for those suffering from gum disease: According to a paper published in the Australian Dental Journal, an Australian scientist has discovered a method to help grow back gingival or gum tissue in the lab to replace damaged tissue, similar to how skin grafts work.
Professor Saso Ivanovski, working at the Griffith Institute for Health and Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, has succeeded in growing layers of cells, including stem cells and gingival (gum) varieties. The gum cells, gathered from ligaments that surrounding the teeth, are placed in cultures and grown in sheets. These sheets of cells can be transferred to roots of teeth in a technique called guided tissue regeneration, or GTR. In around six months, they become fully integrate with periodontal tissue.
Scientists say that while promising results have been reported, further clinical trials are needed to confirm effectiveness. Further research is focusing on tissue engineering and gene therapy to improve effectiveness of gum tissue regeneration.
There is no saying how long this technology will take to reach a level where sufferers of gum disease can really smile about it. But it is still a promising new technology; competing with current procedures which are generally considered unpredictable. It gives the estimated 80 million American adults suffering from gum disease a reason to smile.