Tooth formation is a complex and dynamic process in which epithelial– mesenchymal interactions play a pivotal role in regulating tooth morphogenesis and subsequent development. Regeneration of a biocompatible tooth has been studied for many years with various results, but has never been totally satisfactory. Recent achievements from stem-cell biology, tissue engineering, bionics, developmental and molecular/cellular biology have made stem-cell-based tooth regeneration a novel approach that will hopefully replace missing teeth and metal implants in the foreseeable future. To avoid the legal and ethical dilemmas regarding the use of embryonic cells for therapeutic and clinical applications, the optimal approach towards clinical tooth regeneration should be mediated by multipotent postnatal stem cells. Here, this review outlines the potential candidate cells and their performances in postnatal stem-cell-based tooth regeneration.
Keywords: tooth regeneration, postnatal stem cell, epithelial–mesenchymal interaction, odontogenesis