Remember when it was such a huge technological advance to have porcelain dental fillings over the metal fillings? It was so nice to be able to explain to patients that if they got fillings, no one would be able to tell due to the porcelain composite. New research suggests that future dental fillings will not only fight the cavity-causing bacteria, but they will also stimulate growth of tooth tissue.
“Tooth decay means that the mineral content in the tooth has been dissolved by the organic acids secreted by bacteria residing in biofilms or plaques on the tooth surface,” says Huakun Xu, PhD, MS, director of the Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering in the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry. “These organisms convert carbohydrates to acids that decrease the minerals in the tooth structure.”
When a dentist drills out a cavity, the main purpose is to remove all of the harmful bacteria that caused the decay, but drilling isn’t able to tackle it all. Xu’s nanotech fillings, however, will be able to do just that. [..Read More]