Could Diamonds Repair Teeth?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015, 2:15 pm

Microscopic sized diamonds might join gold, silver, porcelain and composites that are used to repair damaged teeth. Scientists have developed a new material with nanodiamonds (really, really tiny diamond pieces) that may improve current root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy clears out the damaged, infected pulp in the middle of the tooth. The pulp becomes infected due to deep decay, old fillings that have developed decay underneath and cracks or breaks in a tooth. As anyone who has experienced this can attest, infected pulp causes a very painful toothache.

Currently dentists fill the cleared out space with a substance called gutta-percha. In some rare cases, however, a patients tooth can become re-infected which calls for re-treatment. Researchers have been exploring other fillers to prevent this from happening. Turns out that nanodiamonds are strong and can be modified with antimicrobrial drugs. Lab testing has shown that the nanodiamonds, combine with gutta-percha and amoxicillin (an antibiotic) create a material that is stronger than gutta-percha alone and is effective at killing bacteria that cause root canal re-infections.

Future studies are needed to see how this new material might work in clinical practice, but this is just another example of the advances in dental materials over the years. Dental fillings have changed as well.

Decayed teeth used to be filled with dental amalgam, a mixture of several metals and mercury. While it is still legal to use dental amalgam in this country, most advanced practices no longer do. Mercury is a neurotoxin and dental amalgam is bad for the environment and the health of dental workers. Composite tooth colored fillings are more durable and safer for patients and dentists.

Find out more about your options for dental care by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

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Category: cavities, Root canals

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