Can you imagine a dental filling that not only restores a decayed tooth, but also blocks cavities and repairs other bacterial damage by releasing minerals such as calcium and phosphate? According to British scientists from the Queen Mary University of London, these may be the dental fillings of the future.
Bioactive Glass Composites
“Bioactive” glass may reduce the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to attack composite tooth fillings, the type of dental filling many people have today. The minerals in bioactive glass composites may replace minerals that are lost to tooth decay. Researchers say prolonging fillings is another important milestone for our future of dentistry. Every year, there are 122 million composite tooth restorations done in the United States, and with the average person chewing 600,000 times a year, some studies say that most fillings will probably only last about six years.
But with bioactive glass, which is a type of crushed glass that can interact with the body, a filling can actually assist with bone healing and prevent cavity-causing bacteria to colonize inside the fillings. According to Jamie Kruzic, a professor of biomaterials, all fillings will eventually fail, and new tooth decay will begin at the space between the filling and the tooth. This is known as secondary tooth decay.
So What is Bioactive Glass?
What is this material that’s going to potentially be in our fillings in the future? Kruzic explains the materials in bioactive glass. “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 help cause cavities don’t seem to like this type of glass and are less likely to colonize on fillings that incorporate it. This could have a significant impact on the future of dentistry.”
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Here at McNeely Family Dentistry, we’re always staying up-to-date on advanced technology and best practices in dentistry. For experienced, expert dental care, call our office today!