The human teeth are one of the most durable structures found in the world and can take years of constant use without serious signs of damage. This durability is due to the unique molecular structure of thousands of micro-platelet layers aligned together perfectly. Scientist have now found a way to mimic the pattern found in natural teeth into their newly created, stronger-than-ever artificial teeth.
The technique, called magnetically assisted slip casting (MASC), was utilized by André Studart and his team at ETH Zurich. To create the teeth, researchers made a plaster cast, which is used as a mold. The mold is then filled with a suspension of magnetized aluminum oxide platelets, which fills the pores from the mold and solidifies from the outside in.
To achieve the complex layer structure, researchers applied a magnetic field during the casting process. They change the orientation of the magnetic field at regular intervals, which allow the platelets to align to the field. The suspension then solidifies with this special layered design.
“The surface of the artificial tooth is as hard and structurally complex as a real tooth enamel,” says Studart. “The layer beneath is tough, just like the dentine of the natural model.”
Using this method, the ETH Zurich researchers were able to create a wisdom tooth dental implant with this new technique, according to Futurity. To do this, they used a plaster cast made from a human tooth.
Dental implants are used as a way to fight against tooth loss and are a more natural solution than bridges or dentures. Dental implants replace damaged tooth roots and help with a patient’s speech, eating, and overall oral health.
“A hole in the bone is prepared (known as an osteotomy) to a specific diameter of the implant being placed,” says Dr. Justin Bordlemay, Coastal Empire Periodontics. “The implant is then inserted into the osteotomy and, for most instances, is allowed to heal in the bone for a few months prior to having a tooth placed onto the implant.”
While the new method should prove to be a breakthrough in dental implant technologies, the current study is just a proof-of concept.
Studart says that they must make a few more cosmetic improvements before releasing them to the public.