Whole Tooth Regeneration: Can Animal Studies be Translated into Clinical Application?

Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2022 Mar;28(3):104-112. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2022.0022.


Tooth loss leads to several oral problems and although a large number of treatments have been proposed to rehabilitate partially or totally edentulous patients, none of them is based on replacement of a missing tooth by a new natural whole tooth. In the field of tissue engineering, some animal models have been developed to regenerate a natural tooth in the oral cavity. This review shows the state of the art in whole tooth regeneration based on data from in vivo studies. A systematic scoping review was conducted to evaluate studies that described whole-tooth regeneration and eruption in the oral cavity. The data demonstrated that over 100 animals were used in experimental studies and all of them received implants of tooth germs constructed by bioengineering processes. Mini pigs and pigs were used in four studies followed by mice (n = 1) and dog (n = 1). Over 58 (44%) animals showed whole tooth eruption around 3.5 months after tooth germ implantation (1 to 13.5 months). Most of specimens revealed the presence of odontoblasts, dentin, dentinal tubules, dental pulp, root analogue, cementum, blood vessels, and alveolar bone. It could be concluded that in vivo whole tooth regeneration was proved to be possible, but the challenge to overcome translational barriers and test these approaches in humans still remains. Impact Statement Advances in tissue engineering have led to the development of new methods to regenerate and replace tissues and organs, including teeth. Tooth regeneration is the main goal for the replacement of tooth loss and therefore current evidence showed that tissue engineering might provide this treatment in future.

Keywords: bioengineer regeneration; dental regeneration; review; tissue engineering; whole tooth replacement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dental Pulp
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tooth Loss*
  • Tooth*