Tooth decay is the largest oral health problem in the world, and fillings are a standard option to repair the damage. But fillings have had their weaknesses – up until now. Dentists are teaming up with physicists to develop new material for fillings.
Traditionally, fillings were done with a silver amalgam filling, which was strong and durable. However, it was gray in hue, stained teeth, and contained mercury. While it is still used in some parts of the world today, many dentists have moved towards composite fillings, which requires more frequent replacing than amalgam due to the way they are applied.
But scientists are working on a new filling, a glass ionomer, which will adhere to the surface of the tooth and slowly release fluoride into the mouth, preventing further tooth decay. As of now, the glass ionomer is strong, but researchers are studying the micro-structures of the material to make it even stronger.
The glass ionomer also boasts another beneficial property – it can be hand mixed, and doesn't need any special equipment to make it set on the teeth. This will help low-income areas and remote countries without electricity to provide much needed basic dental care.
Together, the dentists and physicists are perfecting the mixture. It currently contains too many liquid-filled pores when set which can compromise the structure of the filling. The researchers are experimenting with different minerals and ratios to see about reducing the pores and increasing the strength.
Glass ionomer fillings are the way of the future. If you have any questions about the benefits of each type of filling, or about the status on the glass ionomer fillings, be sure Valencia dentist today.