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Lets suppose there is a race of Immortal beings. What are possible solutions to them slowly losing their teeth due to wear and tear? After all, if a normal human lived for hundreds of years at some point he'd lose his teeth.

Edit: I meant immortal like elves in The Lord of the Rings, they can be killed but are immune to aging. Dentures are not an option (at least not for them). And since teeth that don't stop growing could cause awkward scenariors and are a potential health hazard (squirrels can die from that, if I remember correctly...) I'd rather not use that.

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    $\begingroup$ I find it strange that an immortal being would have mortal teeth. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 11, 2017 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding Hegolin! Interesting question, but why didn't your god or whatever gave these creatures immortality make sure that they can for example switch out their teeth when they are worn down? If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Dec 11, 2017 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @ sphennings Interesting. Does an immortal being have immortal cells, or do the cells just keep regenerating themselves? Does the hair of an immortal being grow? $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2017 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme has a good point. Please edit your post and add a paragraph explaining the nature of immortality in your world. Can your immortal be killed by separating head from body? Does your immortal lose skin cells? Does your immortal require food? Oxygen? If killed, does your immortal resurrect, or are they only immortal in the sense that if you regularly check the fluids in your car, the car will never fail you? Insight into what you mean by "immortal" will greatly help this question. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 12, 2017 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ Brushing everyday and visit a dentist twice a year... no sweet😆 $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 12, 2017 at 4:22

3 Answers 3

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It depends on the nature of the immortal being.

If by immortal you mean completely impervious to harm then their teeth shouldn't really wear at all and they have nothing to worry about.

Lots of animals can just regrow their teeth continuously throughout their lives, sharks and crocodiles are the two that come to mind (though crocodiles at least do have a limit on how many times they can replace their teeth)

But assuming you mean an immortal human (or human like creature) then the obvious answer would be that what ever keeps their cells alive and unageing also works on their teeth. Whether that means that their teeth can regenerate in a way normal humans cannot or that they are able to grow more pairs of teeth because the function which does so doesn't stop after one set (that is to say it is immortal too) is up to you.

Failing that, immortals just get dentures once their real teeth have all worn away and fallen out.

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    $\begingroup$ I love the dentures idea. Especially for a story. The austere and dignified immortal. Taking out his teeth. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 11, 2017 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ The thing is, teeth are dead tissue, they are not living tissue, in humans. The teeth are not continually replenished like skin cells, they have to be grown from the live roots. So what works in living cells does not necessarily have to work in dead tissue. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: I personally like the idea of an elf smile's being graced by a missing "baby tooth" :D $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthieu M. Maybe they go through phases in their lives wherein they curl up in a cocoon and regenerate all the 'disposable' apparatuses at once? $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme: That would certainly be more "elegant" than having gap tooths :p $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 19:31
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Just replace them.

Plenty of animals replace their teeth continually, throughout their lives. Some grow new teeth in the back / front, let old ones fall out in the front / back, and all the intermediate teeth slowly migrate in between. That really only works for animals that have uniform teeth, though--not varied teeth for varied purposes in specific positions, like we do. Other animals, though, let their teeth fall out and grow new ones from underneath in the same positions; that leaves without one or two teeth in a particular position for a short time, which is inconvenient, but generally survivable--and certainly much better than just losing all your teeth permanently!

Notably, humans are already in the second group! We replace our teeth once as children. Partially, that's to allow for small mouths to have small, and fewer, teeth, and adult mouths to gain bigger teeth. But there is no fundamental reason why a creature otherwise physically identical to a normal human, but incidentally immortal, couldn't replace their teeth again later in life, a potentially unlimited number of times.

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    $\begingroup$ There are also rare humans who have more than one set of teeth. $\endgroup$
    – nijineko
    Dec 12, 2017 at 2:34
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    $\begingroup$ @nijineko, you mean more than two sets, right? $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ @nijineko Do you have a link where one could look that claim up? $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ limited teeth is a mammal thing any non-mammal just keeps growing new ones. if they are descended from earth mammals you need to find a different solution, becasue mammals lost the genes controlling the growth of new sets of teeth to make more complex teeth. We are born with the buds for every tooth we will grow. humans don't grow a new set of teeth we grow one set at different rates. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie "Cheng Ming Chuong, who lead the USC study, says that humans contain the DNA to regrow lost limbs and even teeth, but the ability isn’t “turned on”." So, yeah, it's totally possible, and if someone had a genetic quirk, they might actually grow a third full set of teeth. $\endgroup$
    – nijineko
    Dec 13, 2017 at 3:44
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Think beavers. Their teeth never stop growing, like human finger nails and hair. Beavers have to keep chomping and gnawing to wear down their teeth, otherwise they grow through the roof of their mouth and into their brain.

So a race of immortal beings would just keep growing their body parts.

But it does beg the question be asked, 'Can an immortal being ever go bald?'

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  • $\begingroup$ And what happens if they get extra fat? I mean can they lose it or it will stay with them for the rest of time? $\endgroup$
    – Kaotis
    Dec 12, 2017 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ Given normal humans can gain and lose weight, I would assume the same would be true of an immortal. $\endgroup$
    – Sobrique
    Dec 12, 2017 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Sobrique That is essentially the essence of the question, 'How normal are immortals?' $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2017 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ But there's a qualtive difference between regrowing things that don't regrow in normal humans (lose a limb) vs. things that can change in a normal human. (Like weight, that tends to fluctuate, or hair that grows and is cut off regularly) $\endgroup$
    – Sobrique
    Dec 12, 2017 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ Not just beavers. That's true of all rodents. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Barden
    Dec 12, 2017 at 17:07

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