Natural Beauty

Caries are being replaced by dental composites more and more often. These consist of 80 percent high purity, ultra-fine glass powder.

Caries, or tooth decay, ranks as one of the world’s most frequent infectious diseases. The sour metabolic products produced by bacteria attack and slowly decompose the enamel. Once the caries has made its way to the sensitive dentin, at the latest, this will cause pain. A dentist will then have to remove the damaged areas and fill the resulting cavities with a replacement material.

”Rather than biting on Amalgam, gold or a ­ceramic, more and more patients prefer inconspicuous dental composites,” explains Sabine Pichler-Wilhelm, Research & ­Development Manager for SCHOTT in Landshut. ”This long-lasting filling material owes its unique properties to its two main components: a photocurable synthetic material and up to 80 percent high purity glass powder,” she adds. The polymer matrix firmly anchors the filling material to the inside of the cavity and guarantees the necessary elasticity. The glass powder firmly bonds with the resin-like polymer once the bonding agent silane has been added to prevent the composite from shrinking during the hardening process. This helps the filling to become permanently gap-free and durable and gives it its natural beauty.

A composite with high light transmission is achieved by having the refractive index of the glass match that of the polymer. By adding different pigment shades, the filling can be adjusted to match the natural color of the teeth. This makes them virtually impossible to detect – but not for the dentist, because most dental glasses from SCHOTT are radiopaque. The fillings stand out clearly from carious and healthy tooth material in an X-ray image, even if only low intensity radiation is used. Dental composites can even resist the grinding pressures that the chewing muscle exerts for decades. This muscle is capable of exerting pressure of up to 700 Newton per square meter and is thus considered to be the strongest muscle in the human body.

Leading composite manufacturers all over the world use dental glass from SCHOTT to develop customized filling materials for a wide variety of different indications. SCHOTT is the leading manufacturer of special glass powders that have specific physical, chemical and bioactive properties. With several competence centers all over the world, the company offers the most modern dental glass powders in the highest degrees of purity and the finest grain sizes of 5 µm to 180 nanometers for aesthetic restoration of teeth.

(1.) After it has cooled down, glass is ground using a multistage process. (2.) The glass grain has an average size of 180 nm once it reaches the grinding stage SCHOTT NanoFine. (3.) The dental composites consist of up to 80 percent glass powder and a liquid polymer mixture. (4.) Fine pigment shades allow for it to be custom adapted to match the existing tooth material. (5.) Light that is applied using glass fiber rods is usually used to harden composites.

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Tooth fillings made of dental composites are hardened in only a few seconds by applying light. This material owes its tooth-like properties to the high share of glass powder it contains. Photo:

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