There's a typical cycle with teeth in humans. As newborns, we have none. Slowly they come in through the painful process of teething, and eventually, as toddlers, humans have a full head of baby teeth. Then in elementary school these begin to wiggle and come loose as adult teeth push up and out of the gums. Ideally, these teeth stick with us for our whole lives, but cavities, accidents, and age can cause missing digits. Currently, implants and dentures are the best options to fill these gaps. However, a Japanese company is researching a new solution: regrowing our own teeth. They have developed a new drug which they hope will cue the human body to replace it's own teeth when necessary.
The company, Toregem Biopharma, is in their own words attempting to create a “tooth regeneration antibody drug based on the research results of Dr. Katsu Takahashi, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kyoto University.” Babies are born with tooth buds which form and emerge as teeth. Some adults retain undeveloped tooth buds. The drug developed by the company harnesses this potential. The antibody interacts with the USAG-1 gene, which in its normal function stops these excessive buds from forming into teeth. By preventing the gene from doing its job, the bud should then mature into teeth.
In a 2018 study, ferrets grew new teeth when given the drug. It has yet to be tested on humans; however, in 2025, the company plans to test the drug as a remedy for children who cannot develop adult teeth, a condition known as anodontia. “The idea of growing new teeth is every dentist's dream,” company co-founder Dr. Takahashi, told Japanese newspaper The Mainichi. “I've been working on this since I was a graduate student.” Such a treatment could be revolutionary for those with missing teeth, by accident or by conditions such as hypodontia. Restoring that full grin could be as simple as popping a pill in the future, perhaps even by 2030, if Toregem Biopharma succeeds in their plans.
A company of Japanese scientists has created a drug that they hope will help adult humans regrow missing teeth from their own tooth buds.