|Posted on February 8, 2016 at 2:10 PM|
Current fillings are typically made of ceramic/glass composites and formerly of metals. But they aren’t that strong in the hostile environment of the human mouth and they corrode. Stela Pruneanu and colleagues in Romania and the West Indies have a better idea. Graphene oxide could be used to make super-strong dental fillings that don't corrode, according to a new study by Pruneanu and co-workers published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces recently.
But are these posited new fillings toxic to your teeth?
"The idea of the project was to add graphene into dental materials, in order to increase their resistance to corrosion as well as to improve their mechanical properties," explained Stela Pruneanu (National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies in Romania). She continued: "There is contradictory information regarding the cytotoxicity of graphene, so we first wanted to determine how toxic it is for teeth."
Pruneanu and fellow researchers tested the toxicity of different forms of graphene oxide in vitro in contact with stem cells found in teeth. "We believe that this research will bring new knowledge about the cytotoxic properties of graphene-based materials and their potential applications in dental materials" said fellow author Gabriela Adriana Filip (associate professor, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania).
They found that thermally reduced graphene oxide was highly toxic and hence unsuitable. Nitrogen-doped graphene caused membrane damage at high doses (20–40mg/mL), but was shown to have antioxidant properties, so it could be useful if covered in a protective layer. Graphene oxide was the least toxic to cells, making it an ideal candidate. Stela and Gabriela and co-workers are now making dental materials with graphene oxide and testing their compatibility with teeth. WiN hopes that they can address the issue of color for these fillings. Is graphene the new black?
- Written by Paulette Clancy