Shiny tooth graphic

Emi Shimizu, an assistant professor at Rutgers School of  Dental Medicine, is studying how to use stem cells to regenerate dental pulp rather than removing it during a root canal procedure. Pulp maintains healthy teeth; without it, they are vulnerable to cavities and lack the nerves to detect pain that signals infection. But the infusion of new stem cells would kill bacteria, according to Shimizu. Her work isolates patient stem cells, drawn from skin or hair, and  cultivates them to form the vascular network that comprises the nervous system of dentin, the hard tissue beneath tooth enamel. Shimizu expects the pulp procedure to be available to the public within 10 years.