The UNC Adams School of Dentistry hopes to create even more smiles on children's faces by turning so-called 'throwaway teeth,' like wisdom teeth, into useful contributions for an amazing smile – UNC dentists are the first to perform an autotransplantation in the United States
“Tooth autotransplantation is taking a tooth from a place where you may not need it and moving it to another place where it could be better used,” said Jessica Lee, professor and chairperson of the pediatric dentistry department at the School of Dentistry.
When a child loses a tooth through trauma it is devastating, not only to their physical appearance but also psychologically, Lee said in a video about the process.
Implants, which involve putting a fake tooth in place of a missing one, can lead to more problems, such as inflammation, because implants can't move but teeth can. Oral implant surgeries have become commonplace, but UNC dentists learned about autotransplantation through Paweł Plakwicz, a Polish oral surgeon.
In Europe, autotransplantation has been practiced for many years and has a 90 percent success rate, said Sonny Long, a pediatric dentist and orthodontist. It is also widely practiced in Canada and has long-term success. UNC is the first in the United States to practice autotransplantation.