Making a tooth isn’t just about growth. That’s the conclusion of an article just published online from the Green Research Group (Centre for Craniofacial Biology & Regeneration) in the Journal of Dental Research .
A critical stage of tooth development is the transition from a “tooth bud”, a relatively simple structure, to the so-called “cap stage” tooth. During this transition the prospective crown and root regions, known at this stage as the inner dental epithelium and the cervical loops respectively, are clearly forming.
The paper led by Professor Jeremy Green from King’s College London debunks the conventional view that these two regions arise by differential cell proliferation. It instead identifies very localised and active cell shape changes as drivers of the critical tissue shape changes.
The paper links these active cell shape changes to similar cell behaviours known to create structures in the brain. Understanding the particular cell behaviours and pinpointing the cells involved in these shape changes is a first step to interpreting tooth malformations and potentially driving or tuning regenerative approaches for tooth crowns and roots in the future.