Collection, Isolation and Banking of Children’s Tooth Stem Cells
Step 1. Children’s teeth collection
Parents will receive complete instructions on how to maintain the mouth as clean as possible before the teeth become detached. Importantly, the primary teeth should be collected when they become very loose but have not yet detached from the root, because stem cells will remain viable only if they continue to receive a blood supply. Therefore, dental extraction of primary teeth may be performed by a dentist rather than waiting for them to fall out naturally.
Importantly, to prevent contaminations of pulp tissue, it is necessary to respect criteria such as the lack of carious lesions on selected teeth and avoiding that the pulp has interaction with the saliva.
After the extraction, to avoid irreversible damage to the pulp tissue, children’s teeth are transferred to a box containing a physiological solution. This container will be placed inside another container and will be sent to the tooth bank. Even with these precautions, the time passed between collecting and arrival at the processing laboratory should be shorter than 40h. Then, when the milk tooth arrives in the bank, the children’s stem cells are isolated and cultured following a well-tested protocol. Very importantly, primary teeth stem cells isolation will be performed under an expert supervision.
Step 2. Children’s teeth stem cell isolation
In the laboratory, the samples will be processed inside the culture room in a laminar flow chamber. Milk teeth surface will be cleaned by washing with a saline solution, and then pulp tissue will be isolated from the pulp chamber with a sterile forceps or dental excavator. Pulp tissue will be placed in a sterile petri dish, and then washed at least thrice with saline solution. The tissue will be then digested with an enzymatic solution. Subsequently, isolated cells will be passed through a filter to obtain single cell suspension. Finally, primary teeth stem cells will be cultured in appropriate nutrients.
Step 3. Children’s teeth stem cell storage
Cryopreservation of primary teeth stem cells will be performed by cooling them to sub-zero temperatures; at this condition, stem cells have no biological activity, and thus it is possible to keep them preserved until required. Hundreds of thousands of primary teeth stem cells can be isolated from one tooth and stored in a cell bank for years, and then they could be retrieved when the child or another family member needs to use them. The initial step is to suspend the cells in a protectant, a liquid that protects cells during the freezing process. Samples of primary teeth stem cells are frozen in liquid nitrogen vapor at a temperature of less than -150°C that preserves the cells and maintains their potency. Several studies demonstrated that dental pulp stem cells can be easily cryopreserved for a long time, suggesting their potential applications for tissues repair at patients’ needs. Therefore, stem cells present in the primary teeth can be removed and cryopreserved in cell banks that maintain them viable for the future. When the children’ teeth stem cells are banked, a document is sent to the parents. This is used as an assurance that viable primary stem cells have been successfully isolated and cryogenically stored. The vials containing stem cells from primary teeth are tracked at all times during the entire procedure using a bar-code system.
The cryopreservation and banking of primary teeth stem cells debuted just a few years ago while umbilical cord blood storage is over a decade old. However, the banking of children’s teeth stem cells as bio-insurance for your child is reasonable because the future of dental stem cell therapy appears very promising.