The inferior alveolar nerve provides a niche for stem cells that maintain incisor homeostasis. When the nerve is severed, homeostasis is disrupted and within one month the affected incisor becomes chalky and breaks. Image on the left shows inferior alveolar nerve (green) that produces Shh protein (red). Image on the right shows incisor defect following denervation.
Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California