Status and potential commercial impact of stem cell-based treatments on dental and craniofacial regeneration.
The projected annual demand for stem cell-based dental treatments in the United States can range from over 290 million tooth restorative treatments to 30,000 patients requiring tissue regeneration following craniofacial cancer surgery. Professional dental treatments cost Americans over $60 billion per year. Scientific advances in stem cell technologies, tissue engineering, and transplantation will provide the basis for the introduction of new treatment technologies into dentistry. This review provides an assessment of how stem cell therapies will likely change dental practice. The problems of introducing stem cell therapies are substantial, but they provide the best hope for many patients with congenital defects, and to regenerate teeth and tissues lost because of disease, cancer, and trauma, or missing because of congenital malformation. The most expensive dental treatments may be the most attractive candidates for stem cell therapies. This would indicate that craniofacial reconstruction, implants, and endodontic treatments are the most valuable applications of dental stem cell therapies, whereas tooth restorations and other dental treatments are the less commercially valuable.