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Medicine

Graphene Shows Promise For Super Strong Dental Fillings (elsevier.com) 75

Zothecula writes: A team of researchers from four institutions located in Romania and St. Kitts have worked together to determine whether graphene could be used to create more durable dental materials. They worked to test how toxic (abstract) different forms of the material were to teeth, with promising results. "Typical metal fillings can corrode and composite fillings are not very strong; Graphene, on the other hand, is 200 times stronger than steel and doesn't corrode, making it a prime new candidate for dental fillings."
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Graphene Shows Promise For Super Strong Dental Fillings

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  • Vamps and Goths will love these.
  • by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Saturday December 05, 2015 @01:53PM (#51063157)
    Once graphene had dreams of being the next wonder material. "Better transistors! Stronger than steel!" they sang. But now... Dental fillings.
    • I thought we were supposed to be building space elevators with graphene.

      So what's the plan now . . . we pull people up into space by their teeth . . . ?

      • I thought we were supposed to be building space elevators with graphene.

        So what's the plan now . . . we pull people up into space by their teeth . . . ?

        SPLENDID idea. Lets start with lawyers, then politicians, then CxOs, then bankers followed by carsalesdipwads sniffing up their rears.

      • You're thinking of carbon nanotubes. Graphene is flat sheets of carbon, not tubes.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I watched an hour-long, older, documentary not long ago. I think it might have been Horizon or Nova? Something about getting tech smaller. Anyhow, in that show they had a guy that made graphene using naught but scotch tape and a pencil. They even showed it to us under a microscope afterwards. (I watch too many documentaries, it might have been pre-made stuff that they showed.) It was kind of neat and you just keep using the tape to move it out over a larger and larger surface area until no more transfers.

      Al

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Amalgam fillings are a mix of mercury and silver, tin and copper. More or less the same stuff as the solder put on circuit boards.

        http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevi... [fda.gov]

        That was replaced by plastic or acrylic fillings which are hardened using UV light, but get soft due to exposure with alcohol.

    • by Shoten ( 260439 )

      Once graphene had dreams of being the next wonder material. "Better transistors! Stronger than steel!" they sang. But now... Dental fillings.

      I'm just tired of hearing all the incredible applications for a material that nobody's figured out how to mass-produce economically yet.

      At this point, they may as well be singing the praises of tooth fillings made out of unicorn cum.

      • "I'm just tired of hearing all the incredible applications for a material that nobody's figured out how to mass-produce economically yet."

        Relax. Dentists are not going to use it anyway, because it would cannibalize their future business. Better to put in fillings that rot out and need to be redrilled every few years.

  • Not so much, until "they" start making consistent batches it on an industrial scale.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You want dental filling strength to *match* the strength of the tooth around it, not be stronger, otherwise after a few years the fillings will stick out.

    • You want dental filling strength to *match* the strength of the tooth around it, not be stronger, otherwise after a few years the fillings will stick out.

      Now all your teeth are belong to graphene!

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      From painful experience it's not just about the tensile strength, the difference in thermal expansion/contraction rate matters as well. Going from snow covered mountain peaks at -10C to a desert with +40C temperatures in just a few hours was sufficient to cause a large filling in one of my molars to expand sufficiently faster than the tooth it was in to cause the tooth to shatter. Net result: one crown, two other fillings of the same amalgam replaced just in case, and quite a large bill.
      • I think someone mislead you. The temperature inside your mouth doesn't swing that significantly with outside temperature, unless you're dead.

        You'd get a much bigger swing, as someone else said, going from ice cream to coffee -- or from ice cream to anything, since ice cream's temperature can be close to -10C, and your body temperature is close enough to 40C.

      • by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Saturday December 05, 2015 @03:15PM (#51063447)
        Are you sure that was due to thermal expansion and not having an air pocket that expanded due to pressure differences? I know you get issues with air pockets and fillings when diving so it might be possible to get the same going from a mountain top to sea level.
        • by Zocalo ( 252965 )

          The temperature inside your mouth doesn't swing that significantly with outside temperature, unless you're dead.

          True, but as I was doing quite a bit of physical exertion and would have been breathing pretty hard orally the assumption was that the air passing around my teeth would have pushed the temperature much closer to the external ambient rather than normal body temp for a prolonged period of time - and that "prolonged" is probably the key regarding the ice cream scenario. I got the same theory from

          • I'm inclined to think that sensitivity might be caused by the expansion difference, but for it to actually crack the tooth is almost certainly going to take some combination of circumstances like an air pocket or a prolonged period of expansion/contraction

            I am inclined to believe that the explanation was complete BS.

            Some years ago, I had a tooth that had an older amalgam filling completely shatter. What was I doing? I was biting down on ... a chocolate chip. Yeah, at home, normal temperatures and the

      • From painful experience it's not just about the tensile strength, the difference in thermal expansion/contraction rate matters as well. Going from snow covered mountain peaks at -10C to a desert with +40C temperatures in just a few hours was sufficient to cause a large filling in one of my molars to expand sufficiently faster than the tooth it was in to cause the tooth to shatter. Net result: one crown, two other fillings of the same amalgam replaced just in case, and quite a large bill.

        I'll wager that your teeth did not reach the extremes of -10C or +40C. That wouldn't bode well for the rest of you living. I think you had some bad dental work where a gas pocket was left under the filling.

  • Yeah But (Score:4, Informative)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday December 05, 2015 @02:00PM (#51063185) Homepage Journal
    Then your teeth just erode around the fillings. Can I just get a set of permanently-affixed graphene replacement teeth? Then I could bite through cable car cables like that one Bond villain!
    • Do your other teeth erode? Just because the fillings are super strong doesn't make your mouth stronger, pain receptors less sensitive, or your existing teeth weaker. I have one filling and its completely shot after 8 years, it would be nice if they lasted a lifetime.
      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        Heh, all that Air Force dental work I had 30 years ago is still hanging in there pretty well. The old stuff may have been made from mercury, uranium and asbestos but damn does it last!
      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        It's called a replacement tooth. Basically you harvest some stem cells, do some magic, implant into the jaw and wait while a replacement tooth grows back.

        They are having quite a bit of success in lab animals. Though one imagines that they probably won't do a full tooth replacement when a filling could do the trick. On the other hand, crowns, inlays, root canal work etc. will all be out the window.

  • Typical metal fillings can corrode and composite fillings are not very strong.

    For what it's worth, I have three (conservative) amalgam filling in my upper molars that were put in when I was 17. I'm now 52 and my dentist says they're still fine. Though, I'm told that have really good "home care"... From what I've heard, composite fillings should only really be installed on non-chewing surfaces when appearance matters, so strength shouldn't really be an issue.

    But I guess 200 times stronger and longer lasting would be better, especially if they solve that pesky aging / dying problem

    • by gilgongo ( 57446 )

      I have nine amalgam fillings given to me when I was between the ages of 6 and 9 by a private dentist in the USA. I then went to school in the UK and had checkups twice a year on the NHS, and not a single filling installed since then. I'm 49 now, and with the exception of a recent chip out of the back of a molar, I've been fine. I haven't seen a dentist once in over 20 years.

  • I have a composite filling that is 27 years old and never had issues with it. I chew ice and haven't been particularly careful.
  • Hope you don't need something done like a root canal on a tooth with a filling. Drilling through that stuff is probably going to be pretty tough.

  • I had a bunch of amalgam fillings replaced with porcelain fillings many years ago. These things look great, perform better than the originals and amalgam and aren't subject to decay. My dentist has a Cerec machine (Siemens) that takes a 3-D picture of the tooth and he designs a cap, pushes a button and a device grinds out the cap and he then glues it in - one visit service. He's had this system since the 1990s. The only downside is that they cost $400 to $600 a pop. A lot more for crowns. He does composite
  • Sorry but I'm not putting any "nano" crystal type anything in my mouth. Coal dust, carbon fiber, fiberglass, silica, asbestos... Hello? Have we learned nothing?

  • If the tooth is substantially stronger than the jaw it is embedded in (or the peg of tooth is is cemented to) you won't have to worry about a broken tooth. You'll have a different, and probably worse, problem.

    I'm pretty sure the same general concern applies to adhesives that are much stronger than what they glue together, and to thread that's much stronger than the pieces of cloth it sews together.

    Easy enough to solve. Just replace the peg of tooth with graphene. And the tooth's root with graphene. An

  • I have some imalgams from 1974. Still working, no signs of a problem today. They may last longer than the rest of me.

  • What a pile of crap slashdot has turned into.

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