Nanomaterials: The future of Dentistry?

May 17th, 2016

Nanomaterials: The future of Dentistry?

Dr. Norton and the staff at Lifetime Family Dental always work to stay on top of the latest research and findings in the field of dentistry. Some of those findings are just too fascinating to not share with our readers. You may be familiar with the idea of nanomaterials from science fiction films like Star Trek that involve nanobots so microscopically small that they can travel within your bloodstream. While the study we are about to discuss doesn’t involve these futuristic tiny robots, it does involve microscopic materials that can help fight off bacteria and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Nanomaterials are likely to play a larger roll in many fields in the future, and dentistry is certainly no exception.

This new study, recently published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, outlines the way in which primers, adhesives and composites used in dental restorations can be integrated and enhanced with nanomaterials. You may be wondering what’s wrong with the current materials. Well, as it turns out dentists can spend up to 80% of their time repairing or replacing restorations. This is expensive and time consuming. While the current materials are aesthetic and function when it comes to chewing and biting, adding nanomaterials to the process would make them bioactive and allow them to also fight bacteria, plaque and remineralize tooth structure around the restoration.

All composites used today have two problems, the materials that bond the composite to the tooth can be destroyed by the acid created by bacteria, and composites also can accumulate more dental plaque because of the rough surface compared to natural teeth or silver fillings. The nanotechnologies that the study’s authors hope to use in the future aim to kill bacteria, remineralize teeth and neutralize the bacterial acid. Some of these nanomaterials include nanosilver, released acid neutralizer amorphous calcium phosphate nanoparticles (NACP) and nonreleased antibacterial macromolecules dimethylaminohexadecyl methacrylate (DMAHDM).

While the authors have reported impressive results, these technologies are still a ways away from human trials. Are you interested in hearing about the latest technologies in use today at Lifetime Family Dental? Contact us today and schedule your appointment!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/16/2016) Steve Jurvetson (Flickr)