OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In a revolution for the dental industry, there’s ongoing research right now to make dental materials last longer and save you money.
“It’s very hard to pinpoint how revolutionary this is,” Dr. Fernando Esteban Florez said, Division Head of dental biomaterials and director of faculty development for the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.
Research for the development of longer lasting dental biomaterials that also have bigger impacts on oral healing. Oh, and it can save you money. Sounds great right? Especially when you look at how much it costs for oral restoration materials and to replace them.
“That would be about a $5 billion, with a b, market for the replacement of failed restorations,” Florez said.
This is all part of an initiative from the Department of Energy for several areas with funding totaling more than $1 billion. About $33.6 million of that is going to a team of researchers for “Project Cupiid” or Complex, Unique, and Powerful Imaging instrument for Dynamics.”
“We’re trying to integrate multi-disciplinary approaches to solve issues that dentistry alone cannot,” Florez said.
One of those researchers is Florez. He’s the leader of the projects medical and dental applications team. He said the multi-disciplinary research allows them to look at how different materials in things like dental implants, fillings, or even medicine will function within the human body and how long they will last.
“We’re working together with chemists, physicists, engineers, bioengineers and material scientists to make sure we can have materials that can withstand the very harsh conditions of the oral cavity,” he said.
Current materials fail within a few months to a few years. But longevity and more are exactly what Florez feels this research can change.
“The cost to fabricate these materials, the cost to replace restorations, the amount of time that the patient has to go to the dental office, the impacts in the oral health, those are huge,” he said.
Florez said we are not all the way where we want to be with this research yet. Ideally he said they would like to put the products on the market in about 2 more years.