Nerve growth factor (NGF) is an important molecule for the development and differentiation of neuronal and non-neuronal cells. Here we analyze by immunohistochemistry the distribution of NGF in the dental pulp mesenchyme of embryonic and functional human teeth. In the dental pulp of both embryonic and healthy functional teeth, NGF is mainly expressed in the odontoblasts that are responsible for dentine formation, while in functional teeth NGF is also expressed in nerve fibers innervating the dental pulp. In injured teeth, NGF is expressed in the newly formed odontoblastic-like cells, which replace the dying odontoblasts. In these teeth, NGF expression is also upregulated in the intact odontoblasts, suggesting a role for this molecule in dental tissue repair. Similarly, in cultures of human dental pulp cells, NGF expression is strongly upregulated during their differentiation into odontoblasts as well as during the mineralization process. In microfluidic devices, release of NGF from cultured human dental pulp cells induced neuronal growth from trigeminal ganglia toward the NGF secreting cells. These results show that NGF is closely linked to the various functions of odontoblasts, including secretory and neuronal attraction processes.