Alterations in reparative dentinogenesis with ageing, gender and genetic predisposition


Dental pulp exposure caused by tooth decay or injury can lead to life-threatening infections. Following injury, reparative dentinogenesis serves a vital purpose through the accelerated generation of tertiary dentine, comprising mineral and type I collagen. The regenerative activity is driven by odontoblasts derived from progenitor cells residing in the dental pulp. The effectiveness of regeneration is therefore critical to the dental pulp’s ability to respond to minor tooth injuries such as early tooth decay. At present, this natural defence mechanism can be overwhelmed by rapidly progressing dental decay, which often results in toothache or pulp necrosis. It is therefore critical to understand the mechanism of this intrinsic repair process including the response of the dental pulp to dental cements used during endodontic procedures. At present, there is great reliance upon calcium silicate cements, which have reported positive clinical outcomes in humans, but these fillers fail to fully restore the mineral volume of the affected tooth. To advance the augmentation of natural dentin formation, novel approaches need to be explored, tested, and translated into clinical settings.

Research Questions

  1. How do ageing, gender and genetic predisposition affect the process of reparative dentinogenesis following pulp injury in mouse molars?
  2. How can the reparative dentinogenesis process be improved with novel cements?

The supervisory team provides expertise in clinical and translational dentistry, as well as genetics, molecular and cell biology. Ongoing research utilises a preclinical model to determine how a common genetic predisposition to abnormal collagen production modulates reparative dentinogenesis in young males. A key aspect of this PhD is to include consideration of gender and age, to improve the relevance to human dental patients.

A defective or insufficient repair process could be improved with an appropriate cement. A further important aspect is therefore to test novel calcium silicates cements, such as Biodentine XP and resin-containing materials. Such restorative materials may be modified to include biological agents such as molecules, proteins or antibiotics that could enhance dentinogenesis.

The repair process will be followed using histology and microCT techniques that have been refined in our group for this purpose.


  1. Quantitatively and qualitatively analyse the reparative dentine process following pulp injury using MicroCT and Histology.
  2. Perform comparative assessments of reparative dentinogenesis following restoration with novel calcium silicate cements with and without resin filler.
  3. Assess degenerative changes in dental pulp following pulp injury with increasing age.