Mechanisms which alter sensory neural activity, in particular those rendering nerves hyper-responsive have been implicated in the pathophysiology of common clinical syndromes including chronic cough, itch and pain. However, experimental study of human sensory neurons is challenging because the cell bodies of peripheral neurons are housed in neuronal ganglia which are not accessible using peripheral biopsy techniques. While important advances have been made from studies conducted in animal models, there are interspecies differences. There is a need for development of a new generation of in vitro neuronal models based on human biology. In this article the propensity for human dental pulp stem cells to differentiate towards a neuronal phenotype and the potential of such a model to study altered sensory neural function will be discussed.