Time and again, humans have reverted to the guidance of nature for better solutions. Same has been the case in finding better restorative product for dentistry. Scientists have aimed in developing a polymer resin that could potentially change the future of dental restorative products. Following the pursuit, a team of scientists from University of California, Santa Barbara have been studying mussels in order to find durable and reliable dental restorative product.
Mussels have the capability to stick to varied surfaces, while being subjected to intense sunlight, raging waves as well as exposure to sea salts. However, because of their byssal threads, mussels remain in their position intact, and often evolve to face the harsh nature of their habitat. According to Dr. Ahn, who worked on the team, “In nature, the soft collagenous core of the mussel’s byssal threads is protected by a 5-to-10 micrometer thick, hard coating, which is also extensible and thus, tough”.
Mussel’s byssus are high in catechols, a chemical functional group, that help them to adhere to wet surfaces. Researcher believe that this particular chemical component can be used as coupling agent, instead of the traditional silane coupling agent, and thereby providing long-lasting fillings. The former offers fifty percent better adhesion as compared to the current available restorative composite resins.
Researchers in this field are now working towards making catechols more durable. It would also mean lesser visits to the dentist for upkeep of dental fillings. You can read more about the research here.
The study is titled “Significant Performance Enhancement of Polymer Resins by Bio-inspired Dynamic bonding”. The study was published in Advanced Materials journal on August 18, 2017.