Aim To investigate the ability of dead odontoblasts to initiate NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent sterile inflammation and to explore the effect on dental pulp cell (DPCs) migration, proliferation and odontogenic differentiation. Methods Odontoblast-like cells were subjected to freezing-thawing cycles to produce odontoblast necrotic cell lysate (ONCL). DPCs were treated with ONCL to assess proliferation and migration. THP-1 differentiated macrophages stimulated with ONCL and live cell imaging and western blotting were used to assess NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Cytokines were measured with multiplex arrays and ELISA. qPCR, alkaline phosphatase and Alizarin red assays were used to assess odontogenic differentiation of DPCs.