Aim: To gain an overview of the basic concept of tissue engineering, which helps in understanding its potential application and scope in the field of clinical endodontic practice.
Summary: The accepted use of regenerative therapy in the field of endodontics can be designed to restore and replace lost dentine, pulp, cementum and periodontal tissues. The key elements of tissue engineering are the stem cells or units, the signals or growth factors/morphogens (GFs), and a carrier or scaffold of extracellular matrix. The dental pulp has been identified as a source of mesenchymal stem cells, which by definition are adult multipotent stem cells that are capable of differentiating into mesenchymal and non-mesenchymal tissues, such as fat, bone, cartilage and neural cells. The pulp from extracted third molars, teeth extracted for orthodontic or periodontal reasons or supernumerary teeth offer a valuable source of stem cells for research. Autologous dental pulp stem cells may be frequently used for pulp regeneration. Induced pluripotent stem cells, which are artificially derived through stem cell gene transfer into an adult stem cell, may have the potential to be utilised as an alternative source for autologous pulp tissue regeneration.
Keywords: adult stem cells, dental pulp, regeneration, root canal therapy, tissue engineering