Dual Purposes for Future Dental Fillings

When you have a tooth which is prepared for a filling, your dentist does their best to clean the dentin of all remaining bacteria and dead tissue. Unfortunately, there is a chance that some of the germs which caused the tooth decay will still remain. Fortunately, exciting discoveries are made through scientific research. An example is the…

When you have a tooth which is prepared for a filling, your dentist does their best to clean the dentin of all remaining bacteria and dead tissue. Unfortunately, there is a chance that some of the germs which caused the tooth decay will still remain. Fortunately, exciting discoveries are made through scientific research. An example is the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Researchers there utilized something called nanotechnology to create anti-bacterial materials for future dental fillings. Knoxville dentist, Dr. Jim Erpenbach, believes these future cavity-killing fillings might potentially re-mineralize your teeth, permanently changing the future of restorative dentistry.

Bacteria Remaining in Cavities

No matter how well your dentist cleans out a cavity, it’s possible that some germs will remain. Removing every bit of infected tissue is not always viable. Having the ability to fill a cavity with a material which might neutralize remaining germs is a revolutionary concept for the dentistry field. Dr. Huakun Xu is the director of the Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering in the University of Maryland’s Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics, and Operative Dentistry. Dr. Xu and his team discovered a remedy for the lactic acid produced by Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria that cause tooth decay) which can deplete minerals in teeth. Through their new filling material, bacteria obliteration and mineral restoration can potentially be achieved.

More Research on Fillings to Come

The researchers procured biofilms (such as dental plaque) from volunteers for laboratory tests. Antibacterial agents in both adhesives and primers commonly used in tooth decay are under development and testing stages. This makes sense, as these are the first materials that touch the tooth when a filling is placed. According to Dr. Xu, the reason that dental restorations fail is usually due to secondary decay from leftover germs. The new nanocomposite technology could alleviate any such issues. This process would leave teeth cleaner and stronger than they were before the cavity even started.

Visit your Knoxville Dentist

Technology and research improve dentistry all the time. Even though the anti-bacterial, mineral enhancing filling materials aren’t available at present, Dr. Erpenbach can provide the most up-to-date fillings available if you have a cavity. To schedule an appointment, contact our 37919 dentist office at 865-329-7815. We are happy to serve patients in West Knoxville, the Bearden area, and surrounding neighborhoods.