From the strange realms of the eye world comes a new procedure where a tooth is pulled from a patients mouth and inserted into their eye. Even though it sounds like a scene from Rocky Mountain Horror Show, it is a serious new technique that may help restore vision to a number of people who are functionally blind.
A patient’s tooth is extracted, drilled with a central channel, and a lens is attached to the tooth. After growing in the patients cheek or shoulder for a month or so it is implanted in the eye in cases where a corneal transplant is not possible. The tooth is a good medium and can thrive on the nutrients supplied to it by the eye tissues.
Performed at The Palmer Eye Institute, one of the leading Eye Hospitals in the world, the procedures was recently performed by a corneal eye specialist, Dr Perez, M.D. assisted by a dentist Dr. Sawatari, D.D.S.
This procedure was initially developed in Italy. The last few years Italian Dentistry has purportedly been moving closer to the dental practices used in Northern America and Northern Europe. I’m not quite sure what that implies; all of the dentists I have seen in North America tend to leave teeth in the mouth instead of moving them onto cheeks or shoulders. I even checked implant dentists and still haven’t found a thing about eyeteeth. Tongue in cheek (or tooth), the early results look promising for the small group of people who can really benefit from this unique procedure that has come about though a creative approach for people who had few options for usable vision.
The down side is all of the baby boomers who in 20 to 30 years will be toothless with dentures, There could be a whole new dark side to the tooth fairy. And a root canal in an eye tooth could raise fear of dentists to a new level.
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