Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) isoform expression by odontoblasts leads to their sequestration within the dentine matrix, from where they may be released during caries and participate in the reparative processes. Two receptor types for TGF-beta have been implicated in TGF-beta induced signalling. The aim of this study was to characterise immunohistochemically the expression of these receptors in sound and carious human teeth to facilitate our understanding of the ability of these cells to respond to TGF-beta stimulation. Sound and carious human teeth were routinely processed and paraffin sections stained for TGF-beta receptors I and II, using the StrAviGen immunoperoxidase method. Strong specific staining for both receptor types was observed in the odontoblasts of healthy teeth with the greatest intensity seen with receptor I. Staining of weaker intensity was also observed for both receptors in the underlying cell rich area and pulp core. Similar patterns of staining were observed within carious tissues. We conclude that odontoblasts and other cells of the pulp of mature human molar teeth show the presence of both TGF-beta receptors I and II in health and disease with odontoblasts showing the strongest expression. Such findings may be important in the response of these cells to tissue injury.