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J Dent Res. 2004 Dec;83(12):896-902.

Parallels between tooth development and repair: conserved molecular mechanisms following carious and dental injury.

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Department of Craniofacial Development, GKT Dental Institute, King's College, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


The reparative mechanisms that operate following carious and traumatic dental injury are critical for pulp survival and involve a series of highly conserved processes. It appears that these processes share genetic programs-linked to cytoskeletal organization, cell movement, and differentiation-that occur throughout embryogenesis. Reactionary dentin is secreted by surviving odontoblasts in response to moderate stimuli, leading to an increase in metabolic activity. In severe injury, necrotic odontoblasts are replaced by other pulp cells, which are able to differentiate into odontoblast-like cells and produce a reparative dentin. This complex process requires the collaborative efforts of cells of different lineage. The behavior of each of the contributing cell types during the phases of proliferation, migration, and matrix synthesis as well as details of how growth factors control wound cell activities are beginning to emerge. In this review, we discuss what is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in dental repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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