Current strategies for jaw reconstruction require multiple procedures, to repair the bone defect, to offer sufficient support, and to place the tooth implant. The entire procedure can be painful and time-consuming, and the desired functional repair can be achieved only when both steps are successful. The ability to engineer combined tooth and bone constructs, which would grow in a coordinated fashion with the surrounding tissues, could potentially improve the clinical outcomes and also reduce patient suffering. A unique nanofibrous and active implant for bone-tooth unit regeneration and also the innervation of this bioengineered tooth are demonstrated. A nanofibrous polycaprolactone membrane is functionalized with neural growth factor, along with dental germ, and tooth innervation follows. Such innervation allows complete functionality and tissue homeostasis of the tooth, such as dentinal sensitivity, odontoblast function, masticatory forces, and blood flow.
Keywords: growth factors; innervation; macrostructured materials; nanomaterials; tissue engineering; tooth regeneration.
© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.