Dental stem cells are defined as stem cells collected from teeth or other oral structures. Dental pulp is the soft living tissue inside a tooth that contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The ideal time to harvest dental stem cells is when children lose their deciduous (baby) teeth, either through natural loss or extraction.
In this article:
What are Tooth Stem Cells?
Tooth stem cells are defined as stem cells collected from the dental pulp found within the center of a tooth. Over time, tooth stem cells have also been discovered within other dental structures, as described below.
While there are not yet FDA approved uses of these cells, there is the potential for them to be used in a wide range of regenerative medicine applications in the future.
Types of Dental Stem Cells
Five different types of dental stem cells have been discovered, as described below.
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs)
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are stem cells isolated from the pulp tissue of extracted human third molars.
Dental follicle progenitor cells (DFPCs)
The dental follicle is a loose mesenchymal tissue surrounding the developing tooth germ which participates in the formation of periodontal progenitor cells.
Stem cells from apical papilla (SCAP)
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are present in the apical papilla of permanent immature teeth. MSCs are a type of adult stem cell that can reduced inflammation, reduce scarring (fibrosis), and improve immune function, giving them great potential for use in regenerative medicine.
Apical papilla differ from dental pulp, because they contain less cellular and vascular components. According to researchers, cells in apical papilla also have greater proliferative capacity than those in pulp (2-3X greater).
Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs)
Periodontal ligament stem cells are stem cells present in the perivascular space of the periodontium, the tissue that surrounds the teeth. The are responsible for regeneration of periodontal components, including the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, and cementum.
Stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED)
Stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) are mesenchymal cells present within exfoliated deciduous tooth pulp tissue that can differentiate into a broad range of different cell types.
These cells can become osteoblasts (bone cells), adipocytes (fat cells), and neurons.
To learn more, view “Key Competitors in the Dental Stem Cell Storage Market [Brief + Database].”
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 Discovery.lifemapsc.com. (2017). Stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (family) – Adult Stem / Progenitor Cell – Tooth – LifeMap Discovery. [online] Available at: https://discovery.lifemapsc.com/stem-cell-differentiation/in-vitro-cells/tooth-homo-sapiens-stem-cells-from-human-exfoliated-deciduous-teeth-family [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].