A type of glass ceramics has been developed by researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University. According to the head of the research team, the special ceramics benefit the patients because they mean three times stronger teeth and not having to visit the dentist as often. Ceramics are non-metallic and inorganic materials that include glass.
The Uses and Benefits
These ceramics are intended for use in dental repairs, for bridges and crowns, for broken teeth, and for various types of implants. They are translucent compared to the usual white material that does not look natural. The color of a tooth can be customized to match the patient’s other teeth, which results in a more natural appearance. Combining color and durability has proven to be a successful combination for materials that dentists use in repairing teeth.
As far back as 2012, glass chemist Prof. Dr. Christian Russel of the Otto-Schott-Institute for Glass Chemistry of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany published their research results in the science magazine, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. He reported that he and his colleagues were successful in producing nanocrystals, a new glass ceramic having a nanocrystalline structure. They were produced by an exactly specified temperature and appeared well suited for use in dentistry because of their high strength and optical characteristics. In addition, they make dentures shine.
Prof. Russel also stated that the enormous strength that natural tooth enamel on the surface of our teeth has to endure also is the case for dentures, bridges, or inlays as those are worn as much as healthy teeth. However, the ceramic materials used to that date were not very suitable for bridges because their strengths were not high enough. High-density glass ceramics are distinguished by their enormous strength that is five times higher than the available comparable denture ceramics.
More research and development is necessary until the materials will be able to be used as dentures. The secret of the Jena glass ceramics is in their consistency of nanocrystals and the size of at most 100 nanometers. That makes them too small to strongly disperse light and makes the ceramic look translucent like a natural tooth.
The discovery has attracted global attention, and the team now hopes to use the glass ceramics in areas that need strong and translucent material, such as various types of implants.