Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI) will use a three-year, €2.1 million grant from the German Research Foundation to make dental fillings and tooth restorations more durable as part of the interdisciplinary InterDent research project.
InterDent is a collaboration between MPICI, the Dental Clinic of Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Technical University of Berlin, and the Helmholtz Center Berlin. It comprises four interdisciplinary subprojects.
“Together with dental colleagues from Charité, we will study how mineralized biofilms interact with artificial filling materials,” said materials scientist Dr. Cecile Bidan, group leader in the Department of Biomaterials at MPICI. “Ultimately, this fundamental knowledge will help designing such materials to prevent the deposition of dental calculus or tartar.”
With Dr. Laura Zorzetto, a biomedical engineer at MPICI, Bidan is investigating the formation, growth, and mineralization of biofilms, which are naturally formed during bacterial colonization of tooth surfaces and filings.
The InterDent project brings together fundamental research and dental clinicians to develop new materials based on fundamental principles to quickly create materials that are more suitable for practical use, according to the MPICI, with reciprocal benefits.
“This project not only enables the translation of results from basic research into practice, but also, conversely, the inspiration of basic research by clinical issues,” said professor Peter Fratzl, director of the Department of Biomaterials at MPICI.
The researchers use tools from materials engineering with approaches from dental research to improve existing dental restoration materials. Dental restorations use materials made of polymer-based composites, metal allows, and various ceramics, MPICI said, but their durability varies greatly.
In this context, MPICI continued, learning from the interactions between strongly adherent calculus and restored tooth surfaces is essential.