New type of glass ceramics provides better oral health


A group of researchers at the Ångström Laboratory at Uppsala University have produced glass ceramics that are three times stronger than the ones already existing. This opens up for a better dental care where the patients get stronger teeth and do not have to visit their dentist as often.

Ceramics are inorganic and non-metallic materials that compose the main group of material. Examples of ceramics are cement, concrete, brick, tile, glass and glaze.

It is researchers at the division of Applied Materials Science at the Department of Engineering Sciences who developed a type of glass ceramics that is three times stronger than what is available today. The color is semi-transparent, while the stongest ceramic  that has similar strength is white. The color may not seem to play a role in the context, but the combination of color and durability has proven to be a particularly successful combination when it comes to materials that dentists use to repair our teeth.

Associate Professor Wei Xia

- Our teeth are hard and strong and have a nice color and they need strong materials to be treated. The dilemma of today's dental care is that strong materials are white to the color (a white color that does not look natural) and the materials that are semi-transparent are not as strong. Our ceramics are three times stronger than the ones existing today and also semi-transparent to the color. This means that you can adjust the color of the tooth to resemble the patient's other teeth and the result is a natural look. The material is meant to be used for repairs, broken teeth and dental bridges and crowns, explains researcher Wei Xia, who leads the research group together with Håkan Engqvist and Le Fu.

Photo: PixaBay

The plan is that the new material will give the patients a healthier oral health and in the long term the care will hopefully be cheaper as the patient does not have to visit their dentist just as often.

The discovery has already attracted attention and researchers are now hoping to get their research out on the market. The plan is to use the glass ceramics for areas that need strong and semi-transparent material, for example different types of implants.

For further information, contact Wei Xia, Associate professor at the Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University.

Anna Ciabuschi Eriksson