Now, a Bioactive Glass-containing Dental Filling That Lasts Longer

fillingsFor a perfect facial look, a nice smile matters a lot. A healthy and perfectly aligned set of pearly whites is synonymous with having a radiant smile and aesthetic look.

Those displeased with their facial appearance due to cracked or decayed teeth often opt for common dental fillings like composite tooth fillings, but these fillings are vulnerable to bacteria attack.

Now, engineers at Oregon State University have created a material which they claim would revolutionize the world of aesthetic dentistry.

Bioactive glass, a type of crushed glass, could replace the hole (cavity) in the tooth with a long-term, reliable filling, claim its creators.

The crushed Bioactive glass, which looks like powdered glass, is made with compounds like silicon oxide, calcium oxide and phosphorus oxide, and has already been used in some types of bone healing for decades.

This is for the first time researchers have suggested its use in the dental fillings. They believe that when used in composite tooth fillings, bioactive glass could prevent bacteria from attacking the filling, helping them to last longer.

“Bioactive glass, which is a type of crushed glass that is able to interact with the body, has been used in some types of bone healing for decades,” said lead researcher Jamie Kruzic, who is a professor at the OSU College of Engineering.

To test the Bioactive glass containing fillings, Kruzic and his team used recently extracted human molars to produce samples that simulated the human mouth in a laboratory. Some extracted tooth samples were filled with composite fillings containing 15% bioactive glass, while others were filled with non-bioactive composite fillings. Subsequently, tooth-decaying bacteria were added to microscopic gaps that were intentionally formed around the fillings.

The team found that in the samples with bioactive glass containing fillings, there was a whopping 61% reduction in bacterial penetration into the microscopic gaps, which reduced their ability to attack the fillings.

In the other samples, however, with non-bioactive glass composite fillings, the depth of bacterial penetration was 100%.

“This type of glass is only beginning to see use in dentistry, and our research shows it may be very promising for tooth fillings,” he said.

“The bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities are less likely to colonize on fillings that incorporate it. This could have a significant impact on the future of dentistry,” he added.

As well as slowing tooth decay, bioactive glass-containing fillings should slow secondary tooth decay, which often begins at the interface of a filling and the tooth, and also provide some essential minerals needed to help replace those being lost to tooth decay, researchers said.

The research on futuristic-sounding bioactive glass containing dental filling was published in the journal Dental Materials.