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Grant to Help Develop Dental Fillings that Self-Heal, Fight Cavities

Posted on February 4, 2014

The American Dental Association and the ADA Foundation announced that the foundation’s Anthony Volpe Research Center (VRC) has received a 5-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to develop new resin composite dental fillings. VRC scientists plan to use the grant money to research and develop new polymers that are BPA-free and not susceptible to enzymatic or hydrolytic degradation. They also hope to establish self-healing systems to significantly extend the life of composites, and to formulate smart antibacterial components.

Dentists in the United States currently place more than 122 million composite dental fillings every year. But the average lifetime of those composites is only eight years. Current composite filling technology is nearly 50 years old. “There have been major advances over the past decade in chemistry, microbiology, imaging, and other potentially important areas,” said Dr. Martha Somerman, NIDCR director. “Let’s get the right people talking to each other and see if it’s possible to double the service life of tomorrow’s dental composites.”