Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Look Ma, no mercury in fillings!

Date:
November 26, 2009
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Tooth enamel is hardest material in the human body because it's made almost entirely of minerals. As tough as it may be, however, enamel can be broken down by bacteria, forming cavities and eventually destroying the tooth. That's why dentists repair cavities by filling them with a material to replace the lost enamel. The most common such restorative is a material invented in the 19th-century known as amalgam -- the classic silver-black fillings many people have.

Tooth enamel is hardest material in the human body because it's made almost entirely of minerals. As tough as it may be, however, enamel can be broken down by bacteria, forming cavities and eventually destroying the tooth. That's why dentists repair cavities by filling them with a material to replace the lost enamel. The most common such restorative is a material invented in the 19th-century known as amalgam -- the classic silver-black fillings many people have.

Related Articles


Amalgam works well because it is very durable, easy to use, and cheap. The dark fillings are sometimes unsightly, however, and they contain mercury. Because of the mercury, amalgam has raised health and environmental questions -- though according to the American Dental Association, the scientific consensus is that the material poses no health hazards. Dentists would love to have a perfectly white material that mimics natural enamel for repairing cavities in teeth, but for the most part, they still use amalgam. Other filling materials have been developed in recent years, but they often have problems with shrinkage or durability.

Kent Coulter and his colleagues at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio have developed a new proof-of-concept dental restorative material under a program funded by the National Institutes of Health that seeks to replace amalgam with other materials. They will describe the material on November 9 at a meeting of the scientific society AVS in San Jose. The new fillings are made with a plastic-like material containing zirconia nanoplatelets -- tiny crystals made of the same sort of material used to make fake diamonds and gem stones. Unlike their costume jewelry cousins, the zirconia nanoplatelets super hard because of a difference in the particular arrangements of the atoms in the material.

Coulter and his colleagues designed a way to make a roll of this material under vacuum. They envision that this material would be lifted from the roll and packed in a dental cavity and then cured -- using an ultraviolet lamp or some other means -- so that it hardens in place without shrinking. In San Jose, they will describe how they have been developing and testing the performance of these materials in the laboratory. Its use is still several years away from the dentist's chair, however, and the next steps will be first to see if the new material performs as hoped for people with cavities.

The talk " Zirconia Nanoplatelets for use in Dental Restoratives" is on November 9, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Look Ma, no mercury in fillings!." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091109142119.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2009, November 26). Look Ma, no mercury in fillings!. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091109142119.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Look Ma, no mercury in fillings!." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091109142119.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins