Are Super Powered Fillings in Our Future?

Dr. Calcagno and our team are passionate about dentistry, so we’re especially excited to share some new research with you. Scientists at University of Maryland, School of Dentistry, have used nanotechnology to develop a dental filling material that can destroy bacteria and strengthen teeth with essential minerals. This is great news, and we sincerely hope that this awesome discovery becomes commonplace during our lifetime.

How Cavities Form: Demineralization

Tooth enamel is the strongest tissue in the human body, and minerals like calcium and phosphate give it its strength. When we eat starches, including sugars, our saliva becomes acidic. Your mother probably warned you that sweets cause cavities, and to some extent, that’s true. Sugars and other starches don’t directly cause tooth decay, but they contribute to the formation of acids that sap minerals from tooth enamel. Without proper minerals, enamel’s defenses are compromised, so it softens. In a softer state, enamel is prone to bacterial infection.

Stopping Demineralization and Tooth Decay

If we look at trigger points for cavity formation, you can see that you could avoid starches, including sugars — but that’s an impossible taks if you eat a balanced diet. You could neutralize oral acid before it demineralizes enamel — and saliva tries to do this. Once again, this task isn’t fail-proof. You could shield enamel from the acid — which dental sealants do for kids. Sealants only work well for teeth with  have zero decay, though. Once decay begins, sealing a tooth will trap the cavity-causing bacteria and create a bigger problem. Another option is to remineralize teeth before bacteria invade. The new dental filling material does just this.

Super Powered Dental Fillings

When Dr. Calcagno prepares a cavity for a filling, she removes the decay from the compromised tooth. Bacteria is microscopic, though, and often, some remains. In most cases, the new filling does fine, and the remaining bacteria does no more harm. However, in some cases, the tiny amount of bacteria beneath a filling continue to eat healthy tissue, so decay forms under the filling. With this new material, antibacerial agents in a primer kill all bacteria during preparation for a filling. The same antibactrial agents are used in bonding material, as well. Then, the actual filling material has calcium phosphate nanoparticles to remineralize tooth enamel at the filling’s margins. In addition, it has an alkaline pH to counteract oral acids.

While the super powered nanocomposite dental filling material is still being tested, researchers expect it to reduce the number of filling failures and increase the longevity of a dental filling. University of Maryland has patents pending on the materials.

Dentistry is exciting! Why? Because a healthy, beautiful smile is contagious. Dr. Calcagno and our team are happy to be your preferred dental care providers. If you need a checkup, are interested in cosmetic dentistry, or have developed a toothache, call us today at 507-281-3659 for an appointment. We can’t wait to see your smile!

Located in Rochester, MN, Dr. Calcagno’s dentist office serves patients from Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and surrounding communities.

SOURCE: Science Daily