Virginia Tech Research Group Presents Improved Dental Materials

(Blacksburg, Va., Nov. 22, 1998) -- Virginia Tech graduate student Nazan Gunduz and her fellow researchers in chemistry have developed improved dental materials that require one less step to process, to get you out of the dentist's chair faster. Your fillings will last longer, too.

A process called photopolymerization uses light as an activator to turn a liquid coating into a plastic to create insulating layers in electronic components or protective coatings on metal cans, for example. It is also used to harden dental filling material. Gunduz used PhotoDSC technology (a combination of light activation and differential scanning calorimetry) to measure the attributes of new materials developed by the Virginia Tech group.

At the American Chemical Society Biennial Polymer Symposium Nov. 22-25 in Williamsburg, Va., Virginia Tech adjunct professor Allan Shultz will present a poster on "PhotoDSC Polymerization of New Dimethacrylate Monomers," based on Gunduz's master's thesis research.

"Dentists use a thick paste mixture of two monomer liquids plus an inorganic filler such as fine sand or silica to produce white fillings for repairing front teeth," Shultz explains. "One of the monomers is a thick, viscous liquid and the other is a thin liquid. The addition of the thin liquid monomer is necessary to give the paste the proper consistency for the dentist to handle The mixture also contains a photoinitiator that, upon exposure to blue light, causes the monomers to join into a hard polymer network. This light-induced joining of the monomers into a network is photopolymerization."

"Chemists in our group at Virginia Tech have synthesized four new monomers, or dimethacrylates, that have low viscosities," Shultz says. "It will be possible to form a dental paste using only one of these new dimethacrylates rather than the mixture presently used. Also, due to the structures of the new dimethacrylates, the resulting tooth fillings will not absorb as much wa

Contact: Allan Shultz
540-231-7222 or 5646
Virginia Tech

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