It seems that technology is creating incredible advancements in all aspects of the world, and this includes dentistry. It’s not difficult to believe that the hardest substance and strongest muscles in the human body are found in the mouth. Our teeth endure quite a bit of wear and tear when feeding our bodies. The enamel that protects our teeth is pretty awesome when it comes to its strength, but what about tooth replacements, such as dentures, implants, or bridges? Are they strong enough for the task at hand? According to the Medical News Today article, “Nanocrystals Make Dentures Shine,” if they aren’t now, they will be in the future.
Recently, Professor Dr. Christian Russel and his colleagues, of the Otto-Schott-Institute for Glass Chemistry in Germany, produced a new kind of ceramic, made of glass with a nanocrystalline structure, making it incredibly strong, and well suited for dental work. Professor Russel explained, “We achieve a strength five times higher than with comparable denture ceramics available today,” which is pretty impressive. The team has been working on creating uses for the high density ceramics for quite some time, but has focused predominantly on other fields, such as building computer hard drives. However, when they discovered a way to give the new ceramic the same look as natural teeth, they realized this made it suitable for the cosmetic dental industry.
In order to achieve the right look, the glass-ceramics have to be made a very specific way. First, the materials are melted down at an extremely high temperature, before cooled again and finely cut up. The process is then repeated once more before the nanocrystals are created by a very precise heating process. Failure to execute this tedious plan appropriately will yield a material that looks a lot like plaster, making it unsuitable for replacing teeth. According to the developing team, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to use the new substance in the making of dentures, but they strongly believe that they are on their way to having a huge impact on the dentistry world.