Researchers and dentists join forces to increase durability of dental fillings
BERLIN/POTSDAM, Germany: Even though dentistry has come a long way, the majority of dental restorations do not last owing to the demineralisation of the fillings by the oral biofilm and other reasons. Researchers and dental professionals from institutions in Potsdam and Berlin are involved in a research project that aims at making dental fillings and tooth restorations more durable in the future.
In a press release from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI), materials scientist Dr Cécile Bidan, group leader in the Department of Biomaterials at the institute, explained the rationale behind the research: “Together with dental colleagues from Charité, we will study how mineralised biofilms interact with artificial filling materials. Ultimately, this fundamental knowledge will help designing such materials to prevent the deposition of dental calculus or tartar.” Thus, the research team will investigate the formation, growth and mineralisation of biofilms.
To pursue their goal, the researchers and dentists will combine tools from materials engineering with approaches from dental research in order to improve existing dental restoration materials. Polymer-based composites, metal alloys and various ceramics are used in dental caries filling materials, but their durability varies greatly. In this context, learning from the interactions between strongly adherent calculus and restored tooth surfaces will be essential.
A special feature of the research project is the collaboration between fundamental researchers and dental clinicians, resulting in advantages for both parties. “This project not only enables the translation of results from basic research into practice, but also, conversely, the inspiration of basic research by clinical issues,” said Prof. Peter Fratzl, director of the Department of Biomaterials at MPICI.
The research project is named InterDent and is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, the Dental Clinic of Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (Helmholtz centre for materials and energy, Berlin). It is funded by the German Research Foundation with €2.1 million, initially for three years.