Tooth Development

Fig. 4.1. Overview of normal tooth germ lying in its bony crypt. Odontogenic epithelium covers the enamel space from which the enamel is dissolved due to decalcification. An epithelial strand as remnant of the dental lamina can be seen in the fibrous tissue bridging the gap in the bony crypt

Teeth develop from epithelial cells from the mucosal lining of the oral cavity and cranial neural crest-derived ec-tomesenchymal cells. Under the influence of reciprocal inductive events, these cells develop into enamel-forming ameloblasts and dentin-producing odontoblasts (Fig. 4.1) [145, 171].

While ameloblasts and odontoblasts are depositing enamel and dentin, the epithelium proliferates downwards, thus creating a tube that maps out the form and size of the root of the teeth. This epithelial cuff is known as the sheath of Hertwig. Its remnants form a permanent component of the periodontal ligament; they are known as rests of Malassez and are the source of some cystic jaw lesions (Fig. 4.2). Other epithelial reminiscences of tooth development lie more superficially in the jaw tissues. These are the epithelial rests of Serres, which have their origin in the dental lamina.

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