Tooth sensitivity may be a thing of the past, as microfilm looks promising
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- Scientists in Japan recently created a new film that can coat teeth to prevent decay and cause them to appear whiter, according to the chief researcher.
The microscopic film can be applied to an individual tooth. The “tooth patch” is said to have ultra-flexible and hardwearing material made of hydroxyapatite, which is the main mineral in tooth enamel. Researchers state that this could be an end to tooth sensitivity.
“This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel,” said Shigeki Hontsu, professor at Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in western Japan.
“Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel,” the outermost layer of a tooth, he said earlier this month.
The film is 0.004 millimeters thick and is created by firing lasers at compressed blocks of the enamel ingredient within a vacuum.
The particles created from this process are put onto a block of sale, which is heated in order to crystallize them.
The film is then scooped onto filter paper and dried, where it is capable of being picked up by tweezers without being compromised.
“The moment you put it on a tooth surface, it becomes invisible. You can barely see it if you examine it under a light,” Hontsu told AFP by telephone.
One problem with the product is that it takes a full day for the film to adhere to the tooth’s surface. Obviously, this causes some logistic problems regarding individuals not compromising the films positioning before it fully sets.
Researchers are in the process of experimenting on disused human teeth; however, the team believes it can test the film on animals, says Hontsu. He added, he was able and willing to try them on his own teeth.
It will be another half-decade before the film could be utilized in any practical sense. Still, it could have cosmetic applications in the next three years.
Kazushi Yoshikawa, associate professor at Osaka Dental University, is patented for South Korea and Japan. Applications are underway for the other three major markets, the U.S., Europe, and China.
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