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Concept: Teeth


The restoration of dentine lost in deep caries lesions in teeth is a routine and common treatment that involves the use of inorganic cements based on calcium or silicon-based mineral aggregates. Such cements remain in the tooth and fail to degrade and thus normal mineral volume is never completely restored. Here we describe a novel, biological approach to dentine restoration that stimulates the natural formation of reparative dentine via the mobilisation of resident stem cells in the tooth pulp. Biodegradable, clinically-approved collagen sponges are used to deliver low doses of small molecule glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) antagonists that promote the natural processes of reparative dentine formation to completely restore dentine. Since the carrier sponge is degraded over time, dentine replaces the degraded sponge leading to a complete, effective natural repair. This simple, rapid natural tooth repair process could thus potentially provide a new approach to clinical tooth restoration.

Concepts: Enzyme, Animal, Teeth, Tooth, Dental caries, Portland cement, GSK-3, GSK3B


Evidence of prehistoric dentistry has been limited to a few cases, the most ancient dating back to the Neolithic. Here we report a 6500-year-old human mandible from Slovenia whose left canine crown bears the traces of a filling with beeswax. The use of different analytical techniques, including synchrotron radiation computed micro-tomography (micro-CT), Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), has shown that the exposed area of dentine resulting from occlusal wear and the upper part of a vertical crack affecting enamel and dentin tissues were filled with beeswax shortly before or after the individual’s death. If the filling was done when the person was still alive, the intervention was likely aimed to relieve tooth sensitivity derived from either exposed dentine and/or the pain resulting from chewing on a cracked tooth: this would provide the earliest known direct evidence of therapeutic-palliative dental filling.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, Teeth, Dental caries, Scanning electron microscope, Tooth enamel, Dentin


Dentin-pulp complex regeneration is a promising alternative treatment for the irreversible pulpitis caused by tooth trauma or dental caries. This process mainly relies on the recruitment of endogenous or the transplanted dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) to guide dentin-pulp tissue formation. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a well-known potent mitogenic, angiogenic, and chemoattractive agent, has been widely used in tissue regeneration. However, the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of PDGF on dentin-pulp complex regeneration are still unclear. In this study, we tested the effect of PDGF-BB on dentin-pulp tissue regeneration by establishing PDGF-BB gene-modified human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) using a lentivirus. Our results showed that PDGF-BB can significantly enhance hDPSC proliferation and odontoblastic differentiation. Furthermore, PDGF-BB and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secreted by hDPSCs enhanced angiogenesis. The chemoattractive effect of PDGF-BB on hDPSCs was also confirmed using a Transwell chemotactic migration model. We further determined that PDGF-BB facilitates hDPSCs migration via the activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway. In vivo, CM-DiI-labeled hDPSCs were injected subcutaneously into mice, and our results showed that more labeled cells were recruited to the sites implanted with calcium phosphate cement scaffolds containing PDGF-BB gene-modified hDPSCs. Finally, the tissue-engineered complexes were implanted subcutaneously in mice for 12 weeks, the Lenti-PDGF group generated more dentin-like mineralized tissue which showed positive staining for the DSPP protein, similar to tooth dentin tissue, and was surrounded by highly vascularized dental pulp-like connective tissue. Taken together, our data demonstrated that the PDGF-BB possesses a powerful function in prompting stem cell-based dentin-pulp tissue regeneration. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017.

Concepts: Angiogenesis, Growth factor, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Cellular differentiation, Teeth, Dental caries, Dentin, Platelet-derived growth factor


In 1966, the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) began planning a targeted research program to identify interventions for widespread application to eradicate dental caries (tooth decay) within a decade. In 1971, the NIDR launched the National Caries Program (NCP). The objective of this paper is to explore the sugar industry’s interaction with the NIDR to alter the research priorities of the NIDR NCP.

Concepts: Lactic acid, Teeth, Dental caries, Tooth enamel, Sucrose, Oral hygiene, Dental restoration, Dental drill


Razanandrongobe sakalavae Maganuco, Dal Sasso & Pasini, 2006 is a large predatory archosaur from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) of the Mahajanga Basin, NW Madagascar. It was diagnosed on the basis of teeth and a fragmentary maxilla, but its affinities were uncertain. Here we describe new cranial remains (above all, an almost complete right premaxilla and a caudally incomplete left dentary) that greatly improve our knowledge on this enigmatic species and reveal its anatomy to be crocodylomorph. The right premaxilla indicates that the rostrum was deep, wide, and not pointed; it bears five teeth that are sub-vertical and just slightly curved lingually; the mesial teeth are U-shaped in cross-section and have serrated carinae on the lingual side; the aperturae nasi osseae (external bony nares) are confluent and face rostrally; and there is no lateral groove at the premaxillomaxillary suture for reception of a hypertrophied lower caniniform tooth. The preserved portion of the left dentary has an edentulous tip and bears eight large mandibular teeth of which the mesial (1-3) are the largest, but none is a hypertrophied caniniform tooth; the mandibular (dentary) symphysis extends caudally to the level of the third tooth; the splenial is not preserved, but its sutural marks on the dentary indicate that it contributed to the mandibular symphysis for at least 20% of the symphyseal length in dorsal aspect. On the basis of this new data, some previously uncertain features of the holotype maxilla-such as the margin of the suborbital fenestra, the contact surfaces for the palatine, the ectopterygoid, and the jugal-are now apparent. Testing of the phylogenetic position of the species within Crocodylomorpha indicates that R. sakalavae is a mesoeucrocodylian. It also represents one of the earliest events of exacerbated increase in body size along the evolutionary history of the group. In addition, it is by far the oldest notosuchian. A cranial reconstruction of this gigantic predator is also attempted here. The very robust jaw bones of R. sakalavae, coupled with its peculiar dentition, strongly suggest a diet that included hard tissue such as bone and tendon.

Concepts: Left-wing politics, Mandible, Teeth, Animal anatomy, Jaw, Maxilla, Symphysis menti, Symphysis


The requirement for immediate vascularization of engineered dental pulp poses a major hurdle towards successful implementation of pulp regeneration as an effective therapeutic strategy for root canal therapy, especially in adult teeth. Here, we demonstrate a novel strategy to engineer pre-vascularized, cell-laden hydrogel pulp-like tissue constructs in full-length root canals for dental pulp regeneration. We utilized gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels with tunable physical and mechanical properties to determine the microenvironmental conditions (microstructure, degradation, swelling and elastic modulus) that enhanced viability, spreading and proliferation of encapsulated odontoblast-like cells (OD21), and the formation of endothelial monolayers by endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs). GelMA hydrogels with higher polymer concentration (15% w/v) and stiffness enhanced OD21 cell viability, spreading and proliferation, as well as endothelial cell spreading and monolayer formation. We then fabricated pre-vascularized, full-length, dental pulp-like tissue constructs by dispensing OD21 cell-laden GelMA hydrogel prepolymer in root canals of extracted teeth and fabricating 500 µm channels throughout the root canals. ECFCs seeded into the microchannels successfully formed monolayers and underwent angiogenic sprouting within 7 days in culture. In summary, the proposed approach is a simple and effective strategy for engineering of pre-vascularized dental pulp constructs offering potentially beneficial translational outcomes.

Concepts: Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Engineering, Teeth, Root canal, Endodontic therapy, Young's modulus, Dentin


Human dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the body, plays a vital role in protecting teeth from wear as a result of daily grinding and chewing as well as from chemical attack. It is well established that the mechanical strength and fatigue resistance of dental enamel are derived from its hierarchical structure, which consists of periodically arranged bundles of hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanowires. However, we do not yet have a full understanding of the in vivo HAP crystallization process that leads to this structure. Mg(2+) ions, which are present in many biological systems, regulate HAP crystallization by stabilizing its precursor, amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), but their atomic-scale distribution within HAP is unknown. We use atom probe tomography to provide the first direct observations of an intergranular Mg-rich ACP phase between the HAP nanowires in mature human dental enamel. We also observe Mg-rich elongated precipitates and pockets of organic material among the HAP nanowires. These observations support the postclassical theory of amelogenesis (that is, enamel formation) and suggest that decay occurs via dissolution of the intergranular phase. This information is also useful for the development of more accurate models to describe the mechanical behavior of teeth.

Concepts: Hierarchy, Solubility, Philosophy of science, Teeth, Crystallization, Tooth enamel, Nucleation, Remineralisation of teeth


The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that the gene defect causing congenital absence of maxillary lateral incisors also causes narrowing of the dentition. A total of 81 patients with one or two congenitally missing lateral incisors were retrieved; 52 (64.2 per cent) patients presented bilateral agenesis, whereas 29 (35.8 per cent) had unilateral agenesis. The control group consisted of 90 consecutively treated patients. The largest mesiodistal crown dimension for all teeth, except for the maxillary second and third molars, was measured on plaster casts using a digital caliper to the nearest 10th of a millimetre. Statistical testing was performed using the analysis of variance model (P < 0.05) to test for differences in the mesiodistal dimension between the sample and the control group. Significance has been assessed using a P-value threshold level of 5 per cent. Agenesis of maxillary lateral incisors was found to be a significant predictor of tooth size. Patients who were missing maxillary lateral incisors had smaller teeth compared to control subjects, except for the maxillary right and left first molars. This finding was true for both unilateral and bilateral lateral incisor agenesis. Interaction between maxillary lateral incisor agenesis and gender was not significant. Patients with congenitally missing lateral incisors have narrower teeth than patients without any dental anomalies, except for maxillary first molars. A higher prevalence of microdontic contralateral incisors was found in patients with unilateral agenesis with respect to the control group.

Concepts: Teeth, Analysis of variance, Molar, Incisor, Maxillary central incisor, Canine tooth, Maxillary lateral incisor, Mandibular lateral incisor


Ornament displays seen in animals convey information about genetic quality, developmental history and current disease state to both prospective sexual partners and potential rivals. In this context, showing of teeth through smiles etc is a characteristic feature of human social interaction. Tooth development is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Adult teeth record environmental and traumatic events, as well as the effects of disease and ageing. Teeth are therefore a rich source of information about individuals and their histories. This study examined the effects of digital manipulations of tooth colour and spacing. Results showed that deviation away from normal spacing and/or the presence of yellowed colouration had negative effects on ratings of attractiveness and that these effects were markedly stronger in female models. Whitening had no effect beyond that produced by natural colouration. This indicates that these colour induced alterations in ratings of attractiveness are mediated by increased/decreased yellowing rather than whitening per se. Teeth become yellower and darker with age. Therefore it is suggested that whilst the teeth of both sexes act as human ornament displays, the female display is more complex because it additionally signals residual reproductive value.

Concepts: Disease, Male, Reproduction, Female, Behavior, Teeth, Yellow, Social behavior


Carbonated hydroxyapatite is the mineral found in vertebrate bones and teeth, whereas invertebrates utilize calcium carbonate in their mineralized organs. In particular, stable amorphous calcium carbonate is found in many crustaceans. Here we report on an unusual, crystalline enamel-like apatite layer found in the mandibles of the arthropod Cherax quadricarinatus (freshwater crayfish). Despite their very different thermodynamic stabilities, amorphous calcium carbonate, amorphous calcium phosphate, calcite and fluorapatite coexist in well-defined functional layers in close proximity within the mandible. The softer amorphous minerals are found primarily in the bulk of the mandible whereas apatite, the harder and less soluble mineral, forms a wear-resistant, enamel-like coating of the molar tooth. Our findings suggest a unique case of convergent evolution, where similar functional challenges of mastication led to independent developments of structurally and mechanically similar, apatite-based layers in the teeth of genetically remote phyla: vertebrates and crustaceans.

Concepts: Arthropod, Calcium, Crustacean, Mineral, Calcium carbonate, Teeth, Crayfish, Aragonite