[Frontiers in Bioscience E3, 788-800, January 1, 2011]

Dental pulp and dentin tissue engineering and regeneration: advancement and challenge

George T.-J. Huang

Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02118


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. The difficulty of engineering and regeneration of a whole tooth
4. Pulp/dentin regeneration to prevent tooth loss
5. Discipline of tissue engineering for pulp/dentin regeneration
5.1. Non-cell-based pulp/dentin tissue regeneration
5.2. Stem cell-based pulp/dentin tissue regeneration
5.2.1. Suitable cell types for pulp/dentin engineering and regeneration
5.2.2. Stem cell source
5.2.3. Partial regeneration of pulp
5.2.4. De novo regeneration of dental pulp and dentin
6. Challenge and future prospect on regeneration of functional pulp/dentin
7. Conclusion
8. Acknowledgements
9. References


Hard tissue is difficult to repair especially dental structures. Tooth enamel is incapable of self-repairing whereas dentin and cememtum can regenerate with limited capacity. Enamel and dentin are commonly under the attack by caries. Extensive forms of caries destroy enamel and dentin and can lead to dental pulp infection. Entire pulp amputation followed by the pulp space disinfection and filled with an artificial rubber-like material is employed to treat the infection -- commonly known as root canal or endodontic therapy. Regeneration of dentin relies on having vital pulps; however, regeneration of pulp tissue has been difficult as the tissue is encased in dentin without collateral blood supply except from the root apical end. With the advent of modern tissue engineering concept and the discovery of dental stem cells, regeneration of pulp and dentin has been tested. This article will review the recent endeavor on pulp and dentin tissue engineering and regeneration. The prospective outcome of the current advancement and challenge in this line of research will be discussed.