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Article: Volume 42 Number 6 Page 556 - July/August 2015

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  Dent Update 2015; 42: 556-561

General Dentistry:  Current Applications and Future Prospects of Stem Cells in Dentistry

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Abstract: Stem cells are defined as clonogenic, unspecialized cells capable of both self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation, contributing to regenerating specific tissues. For years, restorative treatments have exploited the lifelong regenerative potential of dental pulp stem cells to give rise to tertiary dentine, which is therapeutically employed for direct and indirect pulp capping. Current applications of stem cells in endodontic research have revealed their potential to continue root development in necrotic immature teeth and transplanted/replanted teeth. Successful application of pulp revascularization is highlighted here with support of a clinical case report. This article also discusses the role of dental stem cells as a promising tool for regeneration of individual tissue types like dentine, pulp and even an entire functional tooth.

Clinical relevance: This article will help practising dental surgeons understand the significance of stem cells in dentistry. Clinicians can harness the potential of stem cells using procedures like pulp regeneration/revascularization in endodontics and improve their knowledge on the recent advances in tissue engineering and future applications of dental-derived stem cells.

Author notes: Sharmila Surendran, BDS, MFDS RCPS(Glasg), MDS(Paed), MPaedDent RCS(Eng Glasg), Specialist Paediatric Dentist, Private Practice, Chennai, India and Gautham Sivamurthy, BDS, MFDS RCPS(Glasg), MDS(Orth), MOrth RCSEd, FFD(Orth) RCSI, Clinical Lecturer in Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Objective: To assist practising dental surgeons in the understanding of the potential for stem cells in tissue engineering.