Root resorption of replanted teeth is dependent on the duration of the extra-alveolar period and on the storage environment. In the present investigation the significance of preserving the humidity of the periodontal ligament (PDL) during the extra-alveolar period was tested on isolated PDL cells and on replanted monkey teeth. The isolated PDL cells were tested with respect to cell viability (trypan blue exclusion test) and to cell recovery (number of cells after additional cultivation). About 70% of the cells were viable and 44% recovered after 1 h in a humid atmosphere. Practically no cells were viable or recovered after 1 h of drying. Replanted teeth that had been wrapped in plastic foil for 1 h before replantation showed no more resorption than immediately replanted teeth. This is in contrast to teeth dried in air for 1 h before replantation. They showed extensive root resorption on almost all root surfaces. Thus, prevention of evaporation of tissue fluid from the PDL must be considered a primary goal if the tooth cannot be replanted immediately.