Dental Fillers

Deborah Randall, Patient
Deborah Randall, Patient
Vistasp Karbhari Ph.D., Structural Engineer
Vistasp Karbhari Ph.D., Structural Engineer

Researchers are now testing a new type of dental filler that's made with the same material used to construct highway bridges. Dentists are now using special fibers for dental bridges.

Deborah Randall was worried about a loose front tooth, so she made an appointment with a dentist.

"I thought they were going to have to take it out, but then again, I didn't know what was going to replace it."

Dentists could make her a traditional bridge or offer her an implant, but that would take more time and money than Deborah wanted to spend.

She was happy to hear dentists at the University of Maryland could reattach her natural tooth.

"Now we can go in and splint these teeth together and really save them," said Dr. Strassler.

Dr. Strassler secures loose teeth by connecting them to adjacent, stable teeth using a composite and a tough polyethylene fiber.

"A patient won't be troubled by the fact that if it breaks, what do I do now," he said. "I know that it's not going to break, that it will be durable and long- lasting."

The fiber is made of the same material used to make bulletproof vests, fishing line and airplane wings.

In fact, it was engineer-tested for highway bridges at the University of California San Diego.

"If you look at the major challenge that exist for material scientists, it's to come up with a material that can really withstand the harshest things that you can throw at it and the mouth is one of those," said structual engineer Dr. Vistasp Karbhari.