Jun 27, 2009

New Fillings

A calcium phosphate nanocomposite filling in a tooth can smartly release decay-fighting agents to buffer against acids produced by bacteria, and rebuild the lost tooth minerals by releasing ions into the mineral-deficient area of the tooth.

70 percent of all dental procedures involve replacements to existing repairs, at a cost of $5 billion per year in the United States alone. Now, scientists at the American Dental Association’s Paffenbarger Research Center, have shown that nanotechnology has the potential to lessen that toll by producing tooth restorations that are both stronger than any decay-fighting fillings available today, and more effective at preventing secondary decay.

A dentist creates the filling by mixing the pure liquid resin with a powder that contains coloring, reinforcement and other materials, packing the resulting paste into the cavity, and illuminating the tooth with a light that causes the paste to polymerize and harden. Makes me smile just thinking about.