Can interaction of materials with the dentin-pulp complex contribute to dentin regeneration?

Jack L. Ferracane, Paul R. Cooper, Anthony J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Understanding outcomes of the interaction between a dental material and tooth tissue is important in terms not only of biocompatibilty but also of the potential for the material to modulate the response of the tissue. This interaction is influenced by many factors, including the chemistry of the material and any of its eluted components or degradation products, and the manner in which the tissue responds to these agents. Past studies of this interaction have primarily been aimed at identifying cytotoxic effects. More recently, investigations have focused on specific cellular responses, and in particular, on understanding how the materials themselves actually may contribute to regenerative processes in the tooth. Recent work has demonstrated the solubilization of proteins from dentin exposed to certain materials, such as calcium hydroxide, mineral trioxide aggregate, and acidic solutions that relate to those used in dentin bonding agents, with the subsequent modulation by these proteins of gene expression in odontoblast-like cells. This work suggests that dentin bridge formation under such materials may be stimulated through this process. Thus, there is much merit in examining both how new dental materials can be developed and how more traditional ones can be modified to preferentially stimulate regenerative processes when preferred. This review summarizes current knowledge about the potential beneficial effects derived from the interaction of dental materials with the dentin-pulp complex, as well as potential future developments in this exciting field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Biocompatibility
  • Dental materials
  • Dentin matrix proteins
  • Dentin regeneration
  • Tissue interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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