Dentists are among the most visited and consulted health-related professionals in the world, but somehow don’t get the respect they deserve from other medical fields. But dentists have a new reason to feel important, as their expertise may mean a step forward for neuroscience.
From Teeth to Brains
Researchers from the University of Adelaide have discovered that stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells. The discovery suggests the possibility that these dental stem cells can be used as therapy for victims of stroke.
Scientists confirm that the cells formed complex networks, similar to brain cells, but have yet to develop them into full-fledged neurons. Researchers believe it’s only a matter of time and finding the right conditions before they can complete that goal.
From Derision to Respect
The discovery is important for both stroke patients and dentists alike as it serves as a beacon of hope and redemption. Stroke patients will finally have something to look forward to in terms of actual treatment and recovery, while dentists can step out into the light of medical relevance.
For too long, dentistry has been classified as an aesthetic field with more people interested in how their teeth looked, instead of how healthy their mouths were. Dentists in Perth have good reasons to celebrate the discovery, as many dental professionals have their bases in the city’s central business district.
The question that whether doctors treat dentists as non-doctors is one that’s asked in almost every country around the world. Some government health bodies have taken steps to curb professional discrimination, and some campaigns have fared better than others have.
From Aesthetics to Health
The current problem seems to stem from so-called ‘Hollywood dentistry’, which puts more emphasis on aesthetic dental services rather than oral health. Treatments, such as whitening and veneers take precedence over toothache and root canal treatments. Many doctors deny that a rift exists between the two professions, but the question shouldn’t even come up if the rift was completely bridged.
The hope is that with the connection between stem cells in teeth and neurons can make people put more priority on oral health, and take it seriously. Once that happens, dentists can finally display their proper titles without getting funny looks from other doctors.