Dr.Kerstin Galler obtained her degree in dentistry from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich in 2000. She worked in Private Practice until 2002 and then joined the Department of Conservative Dentistry and Periodontology at the University of Regensburg, Germany. She received post-doctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston from 2004 to 2006, and earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rice University in Houston in 2009.
Dr. Galler is currently Associate Professor and leader of the section of Endodontology and Dental Traumatology at the University of Regensburg. Her time is divided between clinical work with focus on endodontology, teaching as lecturer and clinical instructor, and research. Her research group works on tunable hydrogel scaffolds and dental stem cells for dental pulp tissue engineering and regenerative endodontics, on dentin matrix proteins and on biofilm-associated reactions of different pulp cell populations.
Dr. Galler was President of the Pulp Biology and Regeneration Group of IADR in 2013/14, and led the committee for the ESE Position Statement on Revitalization. She has published numerous articles in the field of pulp biology and dental pulp tissue engineering, received several awards for her scientific work and has lectured extensively nationally and internationally in clinical as well as scientific meetings.
The Dental Pulp – Vital Therapy, Revitalization and Regeneration
The loss of dental pulp implicates the loss of tissue function, such as nociception and mechanotransduction, immunoresponse, formation of dentin as an active defense mechanism against invading toxins and bacteria, and, in the special case of young patients, completion of root formation. Regular root canal therapy involves the removal or pulp tissue, cleaning, shaping and obturation with a synthetic material.
With advances in the fields of pulp biology, stem cells and tissue engineering, more biology-based treatment approaches are considered today. In the case of partial pulpitis, vital pulp therapy such as pulp capping or pulpotomy can be performed in order to keep the tooth vital. In the case of pulp necrosis, new treatment protocols exist for teeth with incomplete root formation, where revitalization is a viable alternative to conventional apexification. For the future, tissue engineering approaches using stem cells, bioactive scaffold materials and growth factors might be useful to repair or even regenerate dental pulp also in teeth with complete root formation.
This lecture will cover aspects of basic pulp biology, suggest an extension of the classical indication for vital pulp therapy, go over the currently recommended protocols for revitalization and discuss an envisioned protocol for a tissue engineering approach to regenerate dental pulp in the future.