South African Dental Journal
On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516
A thorough understanding of recent advancements regarding the molecular interactions responsible for tooth eruption is indispensable to all dental specialties and may provide insight for treating clinical eruption disorders. The biological processes responsible for tooth eruption have long been a matter of debate. Several types of cells of dental origin and numerous molecular factors that were believed to be responsible for this process have repeatedly been considered and investigated. Most existing eruption theories have concentrated on selective cells or processes as the sole generating forces of tooth eruption. This article reviews previously proposed eruption theories, in the light of significant advances in the understanding that the sequential interactions between dental epithelium and ectomesenchymal cells pattern the initiating cascade of the eruption process. These findings are presented in the context of tooth development within the milieu of a changing bony socket. Understanding the process of tooth eruption in this framework points to the fact that tooth eruption is essentially a stage of tooth development which, through selective resorption and deposition of bone, allows the developing tooth to be displaced through the alveolar bone to its position of function in the oral cavity.
Keywords : tooth eruption; dental follicle; paracrine signaling; bone remodeling.