- Formation of the dentin is the primary task of the pulp in both sequence and importance.
- From the mesodermal aggregation known as the dental papilla arises the specialized cell layer of odontoblasts adjacent and internal to the inner layer of the ectodermal enamel organ.
- Ectoderm interacts with mesoderm, and the odontoblasts initiate the process of dentin formation.
- Once under way, dentin production continues rapidly until the main form of the tooth crown and root is created. Then the process slows, eventually to a complete halt.
- Nutrition of the dentin is a function of the odontoblast cells and the underlying blood vessels.
- Nutrients exchange across the capillaries into the pulp interstitial fluid, which, in turn, travels into the dentin through the network of tubules created by the odontoblasts to contain their processes.
- Defense of the tooth and the pulp itself has been speculated to occur by the creation of new dentin in the face of irritants.
- The pulp may provide this defense by intent or by accident; the fact is that formation of layers of dentin may indeed decrease ingress of irritants or may prevent or delay carious penetration.
- The pulp galvanizes odontoblasts into action or produces new odontoblasts to form needed hard tissue.
- The defense of the pulp has several characteristics.
- First, dentin formation is localized and produced at a rate faster than that seen at sites of non-stimulated primary or secondary dentin formation.
- Microscopically, this dentin is often different from secondary dentin and has earned several designations: irritation dentin, reparative dentin, irregular secondary dentin, osteodentin, and tertiary dentin.
- The type and amount of dentin created during the defensive response appear to depend on numerous factors.
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