Cell-free Approaches for Dental Pulp Tissue Engineering

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The standard treatment modality for teeth with irreversibly damaged dental pulp is root canal therapy, which involves complete removal of the soft tissue and obturation with a synthetic material. So far, research studies show that the combination of stem cells with a suitable scaffold material and transplantation into the root canal may result in the generation of pulplike tissue and the formation of tubular dentin. Because of the technical challenges associated with such a procedure, cell-free alternatives that take advantage of the dental pulp's inherent regenerative capacity because of endogenous stem cell populations and bioactive dentin matrix components need to be considered and explored. Following the tissue engineering approach, this includes (1) a bioactive scaffold, (2) growth and differentiation factors from dentin, and (3) the recruitment of stem cells from resident populations within the pulp or from the periapical region. If this concept proved to be successful, cell-free therapies may be a safer, more practical, feasible, and affordable approach to dental pulp regeneration.

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