Teeth constitute a classical model for the study of signaling pathways and their roles in mediating interactions between cells and tissues in organ development, homeostasis and regeneration. Rodent teeth are mostly used as experimental models. Rodent molars have proved fundamental in the study of epithelial–mesenchymal interactions and embryonic organ morphogenesis, as well as to faithfully model human diseases affecting dental tissues. The continuously growing rodent incisor is an excellent tool for the investigation of the mechanisms regulating stem cells dynamics in homeostasis and regeneration. In this review, we discuss the use of teeth as a model to investigate signaling pathways, providing an overview of the many unique experimental approaches offered by this organ. We discuss how complex networks of signaling pathways modulate the various aspects of tooth biology, and the models used to obtain this knowledge. Finally, we introduce new experimental approaches that allow the study of more complex interactions, such as the crosstalk between dental tissues, innervation and vascularization.

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