Translational Opportunities in Stem Cell–based Endodontic Therapy: Where Are We and What Are We Missing?

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Pulp regeneration is a biologic process occurring under specific circumstances. An endodontic treatment modality to accomplish pulp regeneration has emerged based on the response of undifferentiated cells that are often referred to as stem cells. The treatment itself is currently empirical based on clinicians' thoughts and observations. The demonstration of a variety of dental stem cells initiated basic research detailing the properties and behavior of these cells. Attempts are made to bridge gaps in knowledge regarding treatment strategies by translating basic stem cell research into practice. However, neither the patient population likely to benefit from pulp regeneration nor most clinical parameters are well described. Classic topics in endodontics (eg, indication/clinical diagnosis, disinfection/irrigation, and root canal preparation/pretreatment) have to be revisited under the premises of pulp regeneration. Furthermore, new topics like the development of new diagnostic tools or new clinical success criteria will emerge, and the translational research itself will generate new insight into pulp regeneration mechanisms.

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