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3D-Printed Teeth May Replace Gold Fillings

Gold is an ideal material to use in crowns, fillings, and bridgework. It’s malleable enough to form as needed to teeth, yet tough enough to resist corrosion, chewing, and biting. However, researchers from the Netherlands have created a new type of resin that could completely replace gold, and all other types of amalgam fillings.
The resin incorporates quaternary ammonium salts that are positively charged, which means they can eliminate negatively charged bacterial membranes on contact. To test the efficacy of their antimicrobial plastic, the researchers coated samples of the resin in a mixture of saliva and Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay. The antimicrobial material killed 99% of the bacteria, while 99% of the bacteria remained intact on the untreated resin. In other words, teeth made with the resin would be self-cleaning.

Furthermore, the resin is compatible with 3D printers. With the right tools, it’s even easier to customize and shape than gold. It also means that the resin could easily have applications in orthopedics, food packaging, water purification, and other areas. Clinical testing is still ongoing to ensure fillings made with the resin have long-term viability, but this could be the next great advancement in dental prosthetics.

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