A variety of scaffolds have been developed and examined for tissue engineering of bone and oral mucosa to facilitate cell delivery to wound sites during dental treatment. 

Tissue voids

In conjunction with Cleft Palate surgeons at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the University’s School of Dentistry has recently received funding from the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity to develop an injectable and slowly resorbable hydrogel that crosslinks at body temperature to fill tissue voids in cleft palate patients. 

This hydrogel will assist surgeons during wound closure by providing support to tissues and also offers the potential for delivering the patients’ own previously harvested stem cells to specific locations to improve the success rates of the repair surgery. 

Reliable process

Most importantly for the young patients having this form of treatment it will obviate the need for a separate and painful bone harvesting operation at age eight and should enable a more straightforward and reliable process for surgeons which will improve outcomes for cleft repairs.