$1.84 Million Grant to Fund Research into Next-Generation Materials

Dentistry Today


The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) has received a five-year grant totaling about $1.84 million to develop the next generation of longer lasting materials for restorative dentistry from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Yong Wang, PhD, professor of biomaterials, is the principal investigator on the grant.

Nearly 70% of all operative dentistry in general practices is devoted to replacing failed restorations, according to UMKC, which expects replacement therapy to row as people live longer and see an increased risk of loss of tooth structure due to deep or root caries. The failure rate is significantly higher for these restorations, UMKC adds, with an average replacement time of only five to seven years.

“The reduced clinical longevity and survival rates can be extremely detrimental to patients because removal of these failed restorations often results in significant increase in cavity volume and extensive loss of tooth structure,” said Wang.

“Over the lifetime of a patient, the additional loss of tooth structure will translate to enlarged and more complex restorations and eventually total tooth loss, which means increased cost to the patient in terms of both time and money. Clearly, there is an urgent public health need for new dental restorative materials with significantly increased service life,” Wang said. 

The premature failure of these restorations has been traced to a breakdown of the bond at the tooth surface/restorative material interface and can be linked to the failure of current materials to consistently seal and adhere to dentin.

The grant will support the development of novel restorative materials with new chemistry for robust dentin bonding. This new approach will create strong interfacial interactions that lead to a durable bond for restorative materials and thus enhance the service life of dental restorations, UMKC says. 

Zhonghua Peng, MS, PhD, a professor of chemistry, and Mary P. Walker, DDS, PhD, a professor and prosthodontist, will be the co-investigators on the grant.

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