dental engineering is an important field that encompasses the manufacture, testing and use of dental materials. It also includes the development of new dental equipment and procedures to assist dentists during their clinical work. Dental engineers are responsible for ensuring that the equipment and machinery used in the practice works correctly and efficiently. This involves carrying out yearly servicing, repairs and ensuring that all of the equipment is fully compliant with the appropriate regulations.
Traditionally, the focus of dental biomaterials development has been on replacing carious tooth tissues and lost dentitions in the form of direct filling materials or indirect restorations such as crowns and bridges. However, there is a growing interest in the development of stronger polymeric materials for 3D printing or additive manufacturing in dentistry to enable more versatile designs that can be used for both structural and cosmetic applications.
Scaffold-free approaches for dental tissue engineering focus on regenerating the tooth structure using embryonic signaling molecules to mimic biological tooth formation. This approach has the potential to address challenging problems in periodontal regeneration and regenerative dentistry, such as major bone reconstructions following tumor removal or trauma or augmentation for dental implants.
Dental mesenchymal stem cells (DPSC) have shown to be an effective tool for regenerative dentistry, including in the replacement of the missing tooth-supporting structures and the regeneration of dental pulpal tissues. Several studies have demonstrated the ability of DPSCs to generate biomimetic individual components of the tooth such as enamel, dentin and periodontium.