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Microsc Res Tech. 2003 Apr 1;60(5):503-15.

Dental neuroplasticity, neuro-pulpal interactions, and nerve regeneration.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-6540, USA.


This review covers current information about the ability of dental nerves to regenerate and the role of tooth pulp in recruitment of regenerating nerve fibers. In addition, the participation of dental nerves in pulpal injury responses and healing is discussed, especially concerning pulp regeneration and reinnervation after tooth replantation. The complex innervation of teeth is highly asymmetric and guided towards specific microenvironments along blood vessels or in the crown pulp and dentin. Pulpal products such as nerve growth factor are distributed in the same asymmetric gradients as the dentinal sensory innervation, suggesting regulation and recruitment of those nerve fibers by those specific factors. The nerve fibers have important effects on pulpal blood flow and inflammation, while their sprouting and cytochemical changes after tooth injury are in response to altered pulpal cytochemistry. Thus, their pattern and neuropeptide intensity are indicators of pulp status, while their local actions continually affect that status. When denervated teeth are injured, either by pulp exposure on the occlusal surface or by replantation, they have more pulpal necrosis than occurs for innervated teeth. However, small pulp exposures on the side of denervated crowns or larger lesions in germ-free animals can heal well, showing the value of postoperative protection from occlusal trauma or from infection. Current ideas about dental neuroplasticity, neuro-pulpal interactions, and nerve regeneration are related to the overall topics of tooth biomimetics and pulp/dentin regeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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