14 August 2002
Smart fillings that not only fill a tooth but prevent further decay in the tooth have been designed using breakthrough technology discovered by Australian dental researchers.
The smart fillings, called Glass Ionomer fillings, are made up of calcium and phosphate plus 22 per cent fluoride mixed into a cement.
Calcium and phosphate are needed for strong, healthy teeth.
Adelaide dentist Dr Graham Mount, who championed the research, explained: ‘We understood that acids from food and drink attacked the enamel and dentine, removing the calcium and phosphate.’
‘This remains in solution in the saliva, and if the acid is removed quickly, the minerals return to the teeth.
‘This demineralisation and remineralisation of the teeth goes on all the time.’
Once the filling is in position it releases the minerals back into the tooth to protect it from further decay.
Dr Mount said: ‘Because the mineral ions can move through water, they are able to exit the filling and reattach to the tooth. The fluoride acts as a catalyst in this process.’
So smart fillings do more than just fill the cavity, like gold, amalgam or composite fillings — they protect the tooth from further damage.
Oral diseases can be prevented by:
Last Reviewed: 13 August 2002