If all you wanted for Christmas was your two front teeth, new research could help make your wish come true more easily.
Griffith University scientists are developing artificial bone to help replace missing teeth, which will make getting dental implants a less painful procedure.
A four-year study is being undertaken by PhD candidate and periodontist Dr Jamil Alayan at the university's School of Dentistry and Oral Health.
Dr Alayan and his team are using the latest tissue engineering technology to produce synthetic bone scaffolds that can be grafted into a patient's jawbone.
These will provide a foundation in which to place titanium dental implants.
Dr Alayan says the operation usually uses bone derived from a patient's jaw, but it involves significant pain, nerve damage and post-operative swelling, as well as extended time off work for the patient.
"The big benefit for the patient is that the risks of complications using this method will be significantly lower because bone doesn't need to be removed from elsewhere in the body," he said in a statement.
"We also won't have the problem of limited supply that we have when using the patient's own bone."