The field of biotechnology for dentist is a developing one with many exciting potential applications. Recent advances in this field have created opportunities for a new approach to oral health care that will hopefully provide answers to many problems that plague modern dentistry. Because of the interconnectivity of a number of areas of the dental field, new methods for treatment and prevention are needed in order to keep our mouths healthy. This is where biotechnology comes in.
Areas of research in this emerging field include genetic engineering, cell and tissue culture technologies, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. All of these areas have the potential to impact treatment, prevention, and treatments of disease. Because biotechnology for dentist takes an entirely different approach than traditional approaches to medical research, the field is also referred to as “stem cell” science. This is because the science focuses on the development of healthy dental tissue from living organisms such as cells and tissues.
A major area of concern with this new approach is stem cell transplantation and its associated risks. Stem cell transplantation can lead to life-threatening blood clots or similar problems. Also, there is some concern that human embryonic stem cells, which make up about 25 percent of all stem cells, may help to create serious health problems. Currently there are no studies examining the possible adverse effects of human embryonic stem cell transplants. However, it is important to understand the difference between stem cell transplantation for treating disease versus stem cell generation for other purposes.
Other applications of biotechnology for the dental field are focused on developing prevention methods for disease. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease requires a multifaceted approach. Much of this effort has been directed toward reducing sugar intake, especially in children. New methods using genetically engineered bacteria have shown promise in this area. Other areas of focus include using pharmacological agents to kill off a wide range of harmful bacteria and fungi that threaten dental health.
Dentists are already using biotechnology for many types of health matters, not just disease. A prime example is the use of a drug called metronidazole for combating the bacterial infection that leads to tonsillitis. This type of treatment has proven very effective in reducing the number of people suffering from this disease. It is expected that in the near future, this same drug will also be effective in fighting dental problems caused by other pathogenic bacteria.
Another application of biotechnology for dentist is the creation of antimicrobial mouthwashes. These are used to kill any form of bacteria that could lead to a dental problem. In fact, many new drugs being developed now will perform this function. For example, one of the new drugs, tetracycline, acts against a particular group of streptococcus bacteria that cause strep throat. These new drugs will probably be used to treat this condition before they are introduced into the marketplace as oral medications.
The potential applications of biotechnology for dentist are not limited to the development of antimicrobial drugs or antimicrobial mouthwashes. Recent studies have shown that genetic alteration of certain types of mosquitoes has resulted in the production of resistant insects against malaria and dengue fever. These mosquitoes do not bite or inject their saliva, so they are completely resistant to the disease. The development of these genetically altered species will be able to help the fight against dental care problems caused by this disease. For example, if a physician discovers a case of dengue fever that is closely related to an outbreak of malaria, he or she might be able to identify the source and treat it with the appropriate vaccines.
Other applications of biotechnology for dentist involve the development of new dental prosthetics and dental appliances. Several new prosthetic devices have been created by biotechnology. One such prosthetic includes a missing tooth that is attached to the patient’s jaw bone by an implant rod made from silicon. This device has helped many patients to replace lost teeth. Dentists who have an interest in biotechnology for dentist believe that the future of dentistry is in the realm of genetic innovation.