Dental stem cells for tooth regeneration and repair have continued to show potential in the treatment of other ailments, from bone injuries to neurodegenerative diseases. The different types and sources of dental stem cells have various differentiation abilities which can be used in research for various treatments.
In this article:
Different Dental Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine
What Are Dental Stem Cells?
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 for research and practice is when children lose their deciduous (baby) teeth, either through natural loss or extraction.
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 no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved uses of these dental stem cells yet, 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 stem cells have been discovered for stem cell dentistry, as described below.
1. Dental Pulp Stem Cells (DPSCs)
Dental pulp stem cells in regenerative dentistry are stem cells isolated from the pulp tissue of extracted human third molars. They have the potential to cure various diseases by differentiating into neurons, osteoblasts, liver cells, and β cells of the islet of the pancreas, as well as dental- related problems such as:
- Human exfoliated deciduous teeth
- Apical papilla
- Periodontal ligament
- Dental follicle tissue 
2. 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.
3. 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 reduce inflammation, reduce scarring (fibrosis), and improve immune function, giving them great potential for use in regenerative medicine.
Apical papilla differs 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).
4. 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. They are responsible for the regeneration of periodontal components, including the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, and cementum.
5. 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)
To learn more, view “Key Competitors in the Dental Stem Cell Storage Market [Brief + Database].”
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What other questions do you about tooth and dental stem cells and the application of stem cells in dentistry? Ask them in the comments below.
 NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov. (2015). Human dental pulp stem cells: Applications in future regenerative medicine. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478630/ [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018]
 Sciencedirect.com. (2017). Dental follicle – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. [online] Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/dental-follicle [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
 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].