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New cavity-filling materials kill bacteria and regrow tooth tissue

By

May 8, 2012

Newly-developed cavity-filling substances could lead to fillings that last much longer

Newly-developed cavity-filling substances could lead to fillings that last much longer

When a dentist drills out the decayed section of a tooth that has a cavity, it’s important that they also remove the bacteria that caused the decay in the first place – or at least, that they remove as much of it as possible. If they don’t, the bacteria can get reestablished, causing the filling to fail. Now, scientists from the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry have developed a new cavity-filling system that they say will not only kill virtually all residual bacteria, but also help the tooth to regrow some of the tissue that was lost to decay.

The system consists of a primer that is applied to the surface of the drilled-out tooth, an adhesive that is then applied to help the filling bond to the tooth, and the filling material itself. The three substances contain ammonium and silver nanoparticles, plus they have a high pH, all of which have been shown to kill bacteria.

“The reason we want to get the antibacterial agents also into primers and adhesives is that these are the first things that cover the internal surfaces of the tooth cavity and flow into tiny dental tubules inside the tooth,” said lead scientist, Prof. Huakun (Hockin) Xu.

Some people may be wary of the technology, however, as silver nanoparticles have been linked to health problems such as immune system deficiencies.

The filling material itself additionally contains calcium phosphate nanoparticles, which promote the regrowth of tooth minerals. While it isn’t clear if this could ultimately allow the tooth to completely rebuilt itself, it should at least help the drilled section to heal over. Although the longevity of fillings made with the material hasn’t yet been tested, Xu’s team believes that they should last considerably longer than traditional fillings.

So far, the primer, adhesive and filling material have been tested on biofilms made from saliva provided by volunteers. Trials utilizing the teeth of lab animals and human participants are being planned.

Source: University of Maryland via LiveScience

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
6 Comments

Don't use the silver nanoparticles if this causes immune system deficiencies. What is so special about silver nanoparticles that makes it worth the risk?

Hmmm...
9th May, 2012 @ 09:19 am PDT

What makes Silver particles so special is their unmatched ability to kill viruses and bacteria. Silver is the most potent Viruscide and antibiotic. It kills bacteria in a way that they cannot become resistant to, unlike traditional antibiotics. The list of known viruses it destroys is over 600 names long! Human delivery systems for Silver have never worked as well as might be expected.

What is interesting in the article cited as a warning is the hypothetical concern with using Silver. Because Silver does the job of a healthy immune system, the researchers believe the immune system will become less virulent with underuse. May be true, much like children in areas of the World that have constant exposure to dirty environments have more active immune systems and don't suffer from maladies that affect more affluent children.

Dave Beachler
9th May, 2012 @ 10:01 am PDT

Re; Hmmm

The only sure way to kill MRSA type superbugs is with a silver bullet. Dentists have a lot of faith in silver having worked with it for decades so companies are able to get the funding. And the silver will be tucked away inside the tooth, with no free oxygen or light in a place where normal antibiotics do not have access too - bone. This could be a good development and would be rapidly standard with all fillings.

I have had tooth infections cased by an ear infection, a quite different prospect that a normal cavity as the bactera burns its way out of your enamel. Painful, and hard to get rid off with antibiotics - you are made to wait for treatment until antibiotics have become effective in fighting the infection, something like this could have rebuilt two of my molars quickly and saved a lot of pain.

L1ma
9th May, 2012 @ 10:03 am PDT

But it still involves DRILLING. I'm not going to get excited about any dental "breakthrough" until they figure out how to do the following in a cost-effective manner:

1. Fill a cavity and kill bacteria with tooth-colored material that doesn't require drilling.

2. Create "tooth-brushing" mouthwash that can safely dissolved plaque and tartar and disinfect.

3. Invent tooth-cleaning gum that can be a quick-fix way to "brush" and "floss" until you can actually get to some floss or a flossing stick. This would be ideal for after meals at restaurants.

4. If drilling is necessary, make it near- to completely painless.

Brian Brehart
10th May, 2012 @ 08:16 am PDT

We Indians have been using ultra thin silver foil to garnish our sweets for centuries. And yes we eat it. Haven;t ever heard of anyone having a bad reaction to it.

So far as removing tartar is concerned there is a very simple solution to it. Take a lump of common alum. Heat it so it loses all its water of crystallisation. Grind it into powder form. Next time you brush your teeth sprinkle a pinch on top of the tooth paste on the toothbrush. Brush normally. One might feel a bit uncomfortable for first few days but one gets used to it. Then see and appreciate the results within 7 to 10 days.

BTW it will also cure one of bleeding gums !

pmshah
23rd May, 2012 @ 12:18 am PDT

It sounds good to get a filling with the material which kill bacteria and regrow tooth tissue. But as being a dental patient how much costly it will be for me? And is it will be easily available to Dentists in Hørsholm Center (Tandlægerne i Hørsholm Midtpunkt)?

bestsmile0
11th June, 2012 @ 10:02 am PDT
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