THE IMPACT OF TISSUE ENGINEERING ON DENTISTRY
BRUCE J. BAUM, D.M.D., PH.D. and DAVID J. MOONEY, PH.D.
Background. Tissue engineering is a novel and highly exciting field of research that aims to repair damaged tissues as well as create replacement (bioartificial) organs.
Overview. The authors provide a general review of the principles underlying key tissue engineering strategies, as well as the typical components used. Several examples of preclinical and clinical progress are presented. These include passive approaches, such as dental implants, and inductive approaches that activate cells with specific molecular signals.
Practice Implications. Tissue engineering will have a considerable effect on dental practice during the next 25 years. The greatest effects will likely be related to the repair and replacement of mineralized tissues, the promotion of oral wound healing and the use of gene transfer adjunctively.
Recently, there has been a substantial and growing public1 and scientific2,3 awareness of a relatively new field of applied biological research called tissue engineering. This field builds on the interface between materials science and biocompatibility, and integrates cells, natural or synthetic scaffolds, and specific signals to create new tissues.4 This field is increasingly being viewed as having enormous clinical potential.5,6
Historically, some of the earliest attempts at tissue replacement, dating back thousands of years, involved teeth.7 In modern times, dentistry has continued to place considerable emphasis on, and be a leader in, the study and use of biocompatible materials. The purpose of this brief review is to provide the practicing dentist with
- – a general perspective and background on tissue engineering;
- – a sense of what has been accomplished in this field thus far;
- – a consideration of the likely impact of tissue engineering on the practice of dentistry during the next 25 years.
For a more in-depth review of this field, we recommend several articles that make up a special report,2 as well as recent texts on the subject.3,8,9
Source: J Am Dent Assoc, (2000) Vol 131, No 3, 309-318.