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Gerontology. 2011;57(1):85-94. doi: 10.1159/000314530. Epub 2010 May 6.

Dental tissue regeneration - a mini-review.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Division of Craniofacial and Molecular Genetics, Tufts University, Boston, Mass., USA.



with today's 21st century technological advancements, it is expected that individuals will either retain their natural teeth or obtain functional tooth replacements throughout their entire life. Modern dental therapies for the replacement of missing teeth largely utilize partial or complete dentures and titanium implants capped with prosthetic crowns. Although these prostheses serve a purpose, they are not equivalent, neither in function nor aesthetics, to natural teeth. Recent progress in dental tissue engineering has lent significant credibility to the concept that biological replacement teeth therapies may soon be available to replace missing teeth.


in this review, we summarize the emerging concepts of whole-tooth replacement strategies, using postnatal dental stem cells (DSCs) and dental tissue engineering approaches.


we provide a thorough and extensive review of the literature.


current approaches to achieve clinically relevant biological replacement tooth therapies rely on the cultivation of DSCs capable of relaying odontogenic induction signals, through dental epithelial-mesenchymal cell interactions. DSC expansion and differentiation can be achieved by programming progenitor stem cells to adopt dental lineages, using instructive, bioengineered scaffold materials. Periodontal ligament regeneration in particular has demonstrated significant progress recently, despite the somewhat unpredictable clinical outcomes, with regard to its capacity to augment conventional metallic dental implants and as an important component for whole-tooth tissue engineering. Following recent advances made in DSC and tissue engineering research, various research groups are in the midst of performing 'proof of principle' experiments for whole-tooth regeneration, with associated functional periodontal tissues. This mini-review focuses on recent and promising developments in the fields of pulp and periodontal tissue DSCs that are of particular relevance for dental tissue and whole-tooth regeneration.


continued advances in the derivation of useable DSC populations and optimally designed scaffold materials unequivocally support the feasibility of dental tissue and whole-tooth tissue engineering.

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