My daughter was scheduled to have two teeth pulled, so I looked into storing dental pulp stem cells (DPSC). I thought I’d share what I learned here, and I’d be very interested in hearing what other people think and whether they have taken this step. I did not end up banking the teeth, although it is still a possibility in the future, either from future loose baby teeth or from having wisdom teeth pulled for braces.
I was told storing dental stem cells is different from storing cord blood because cord blood stem cells are the hematopoietic type and dental stem cells are mesenchymal, which means that they have the potential to differentiate into different types of cells. Wikipedia lists the types of cells that are mesenchymal in origin here and discusses cord blood here.
I was told the younger the tooth, the more proliferative the stem cells harvested will be, so there is an advantage to storing younger teeth versus older teeth.
Depending on the storage company’s policy, collections can be performed at home or at the doctor’s office. The tooth needs to have a blood supply to harvest the stem cells from, so a baby tooth that has been loose for a long time may not be a good choice. Up to four teeth can be collected and stored at a time. There is a fee for the enrollment and processing, as well as an annual storage fee.
One company offers a whole tissue service and a cultured cell service option for an additional fee. However, a different company’s representative did not recommend the cultured cell service, pointing out that the cells need to be prepared in a specific way at the time of use and should not have already been processed. More teeth can be stored in the future for additional fees.
When I asked a dentist for an opinion, the dentist suggested the possibility of pulling a tooth later if there is a cure found from dental pulp stem cells.
The companies I found that store dental stem cells are: