Engineers from OSU have made huge strides in the study of “bioactive” glass and its ability to prolong the useful life of your teeth. If you’ve ever had that realization that basically the entire dental profession consists of little more than scraping the parts that obviously shouldn’t be there off your teeth, and it profoundly shook your faith in the medical sector, this will be undoubtedly received as good news.
Bioactive glass is basically crushed glass that can actually be incorporated into biological processes and has proven useful in bone healing for years. But now the OSU research is showing that the bioactive glass can be used to protect fillings from early decay and failure. Extending the life of composite fillings in this way could be a game changer.
The numbers make it plain: over 122 million fillings per year are administered to fight tooth decay in the U.S. Extending their life, which can be as short as six years, would be enormous.
Jamie Kruzic, a professor in the College of Engineering at OSU, commented in a press release on the importance of the findings.
“This type of glass is only beginning to see use in dentistry, and our research shows it may be very promising for tooth fillings,” said Kruzic. “The bacteria in the mouth that help cause cavities don’t seem to like this type of glass and are less likely to colonize on fillings that incorporate it. This could have a significant impact on the future of dentistry.”
There is obviously a long way to go before the bioactive glass becomes more common than the hideous looking things checkering my poorly maintained teeth, but this could turn having a “glass jaw” into a very good thing. And it could restore some of my lost faith in dentistry in the process.
By Sidney Reilly