I may have to take back everything denigrating I've ever said about Canada, because it looks like some Canadian scientists have created a device to regrow new teeth -- an amazing invention that, if it works, may improve quality of life for millions of people.

The researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton filed patents earlier this month in the United States for the tool based on low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technology after testing it on a dozen dental patients in Canada.

"Right now, we plan to use it to fix fractured or diseased teeth, as well as asymmetric jawbones, but it may also help hockey players or children who had their tooth knocked out," Jie Chen, an engineering professor and nano-circuit design expert, told AFP.

Chen helped create the tiny ultrasound machine that gently massages gums and stimulates tooth growth from the root once inserted into a person's mouth, mounted on braces or a removable plastic crown.

The wireless device, smaller than a pea, must be activated for 20 minutes each day for four months to stimulate growth, he said.

It can also stimulate jawbone growth to fix a person's crooked smile and may eventually allow people to grow taller by stimulating bone growth, Chen said.

I've got a slightly chipped tooth that occasionally frets me when I've got nothing better to worry about, and the prospect of eventually being able to regrow a whole new tooth encourages me greatly.

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