Nanospheres that block pain of sensitive teeth
Nanospheres could help dentists fill the tiny holes in our teeth that make them incredibly sensitive, and that cause severe pain for millions of adults and children worldwide.
Preliminary research presented today at the Institute of Physics conference EMAG-NANO 2005 shows that creating tiny spheres of a ceramic material called hydroxyapatite could be a long term solution or cure for sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth or dental hypersensitivity is a condition that arises when the dentine of the tooth is exposed. The dentine is made up of thousands of tiny fluid-filled channels which radiate outwards from the nerve endings at the centre of the tooth. Heat, some chemicals, and physical contact can cause the fluid in these channels to move – in or out – triggering the nerve endings and causing sharp pain.
If these channels (or tubules) are fully or partially blocked, the flow can be reduced and the pain stopped or significantly reduced. Currently, the only way to treat this condition is through good dental hygiene – using special toothpastes and fluorine mouthwashes which encourage re-mineralization of the dentine coating.
Jonathan Earl, David Wood and Steve Milne from the Institute of Materials Research at the University of Leeds have found that the most successful particle shape for filling these channels is a nanosphere and are now trying to synthesize nanospheres of hydroxyapatite. Hydroxyapatite is a ceramic material which is highly compatible with teeth and bone and so is widely used by medics for bone grafts or dental coatings (because it binds strongly with the bone material).
Earl and his colleagues grew hydroxyapatite at various pH levels to vary the size of the particles it is made up of. At normal pH, it is composed of long rod-like structures but at high pH levels the particles of hydroxyapatite become smaller and more rounded, better for fitting inside the tiny channels in teeth.
To see whether nanospheres would be successful at filling the channels they used commercially available silica nanospheres of around 40nm in diameter.
Earl said: "We found these tiny spheres are really good at filling the channels in teeth, packing inside them quite evenly and going down the holes to a good depth. Theyd be the perfect shape of particle for filling these channels and reducing or preventing the pain caused by sensitive teeth".
The next stage of their research will be to work out how to synthesize nanospheres of hydroyapatite or a combination of hydroxyapatite and fluorine which would fill the holes and encourage re-mineralization at the same time and so be an incredibly powerful repair tool for dentists.
David Reid | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...