Researchers at Texas A&M College of Dentistry have received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study the gene required for cartilage development — FAM20B — to determine how it affects tooth development.
Using a mouse model, the team’s past research determined that mice that had this gene removed had higher states of mineralization in enamel and grew additional teeth. Xiaofang Wang, PhD, MDS, BDS, an assistant professor in biomedical sciences and principal investigator, will use the funding to study the signaling mechanism that triggers the formation of supernumerary teeth. “Clinically, the presence of supernumerary teeth is a bad thing, as they may cause complications,” Wang notes, adding, “Scientifically, it is a good thing, because it reminds us that if we figure out the mechanism, we may use it to regenerate teeth — and, of course, prevent supernumerary teeth.”
From Decisions in Dentistry. August 2017;3(8):10.