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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 951920, 6 pages
Review Article

Peripheral Mechanisms of Dental Pain: The Role of Substance P

1Department of Pharmacology, University of Milan, 20129 Milan, Italy
2Dental Clinic, University of Insubria, Via Piatti 10, Velate, 22100 Varese, Italy

Received 20 July 2011; Revised 8 November 2011; Accepted 9 November 2011

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2012 Paola Sacerdote and Luca Levrini. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Current evidence supports the central role of neuropeptides in the molecular mechanisms underlying dental pain. In particular, substance P, a neuropeptide produced in neuron cell bodies localised in dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia, contributes to the transmission and maintenance of noxious stimuli and inflammatory processes. The major role of substance P in the onset of dental pain and inflammation is increasingly being recognised. Well-grounded experimental and clinical observations have documented an increase in substance P concentration in patients affected by caries, pulpitis, or granulomas and in those undergoing standard orthodontic or orthodontic/dental care procedures. This paper focuses on the role of substance P in the induction and maintenance of inflammation and dental pain, in order to define future lines of research for the evaluation of therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating the complex effects of this mediator in oral tissues.