Dental Stem Cells and their Applications in Dental Tissue Engineering
S Lymperi1, 2, C Ligoudistianou2, #, V Taraslia2, E Kontakiotis1, E Anastasiadou2, *
1 Department of Endodontics, Dental School, University of Athens, Greece
2 Department of Genetics and Gene Therapy, Biomedical Research Foundation of Academy of Athens, Greece
Tooth loss or absence is a common condition that can be caused by various pathological circumstances. The replacement of the missing tooth is important for medical and aesthetic reasons. Recently, scientists focus on tooth tissue engineering, as a potential treatment, beyond the existing prosthetic methods. Tooth engineering is a promising new therapeutic approach that seeks to replace the missing tooth with a bioengineered one or to restore the damaged dental tissue. Its main tool is the stem cells that are seeded on the surface of biomaterials (scaffolds), in order to create a biocomplex. Several populations of mesenchymal stem cells are found in the tooth. These different cell types are categorized according to their location in the tooth and they demonstrate slightly different features. It appears that the dental stem cells isolated from the dental pulp and the periodontal ligament are the most powerful cells for tooth engineering. Additional research needs to be performed in order to address the problem of finding a suitable source of epithelial stem cells, which are important for the regeneration of the enamel. Nevertheless, the results of the existing studies are encouraging and strongly support the belief that tooth engineering can offer hope to people suffering from dental problems or tooth loss.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Biomedical Research Foundation of Academy of Athens 4 Soranou Ephessiou St., 115 27 Athens, Greece; Tel: +30 210 6597000; Fax: +30 210 6597545; E-mail: email@example.com# Both authors contributed equally