21 August 2009 Bio-inspired dental fillings
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Human teeth are anisotropic composites. Dentin as the core material of the tooth consists of nanometer-sized calcium phosphate crystallites embedded in collagen fiber networks. It shows its anisotropy on the micrometer scale by its well-oriented microtubules. The detailed three-dimensional nanostructure of the hard tissues namely dentin and enamel, however, is not understood, although numerous studies on the anisotropic mechanical properties have been performed and evaluated to explain the tooth function including the enamel-dentin junction acting as effective crack barrier. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) with a spatial resolution in the 10 μm range allows determining the size and orientation of the constituents on the nanometer scale with reasonable precision. So far, only some dental materials, i.e. the fiber reinforced posts exhibit anisotropic properties related to the micrometer-size glass fibers. Dental fillings, composed of nanostructures oriented similar to the natural hard tissues of teeth, however, do not exist at all. The current X-ray-based investigations of extracted human teeth provide evidence for oriented micro- and nanostructures in dentin and enamel. These fundamental quantitative findings result in profound knowledge to develop biologically inspired dental fillings with superior resistance to thermal and mechanical shocks.
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Hans Deyhle, Oliver Bunk, Stefan Buser, Gabriel Krastl, Nicola U. Zitzmann, Bernd Ilgenstein, Felix Beckmann, Franz Pfeiffer, Roland Weiger, Bert Müller, "Bio-inspired dental fillings", Proc. SPIE 7401, Biomimetics and Bioinspiration, 74010E (21 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.827437; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.827437

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