'Painless' plasma brush is becoming reality in dentistry, engineers say

Dec 20, 2011
The plasma brush uses chemical reactions to disinfect and clean out cavities for fillings, in addition to forming a better bond for cavity fillings. Credit: MU News Bureau

University of Missouri engineers and their research collaborators at Nanova, Inc. are one step closer to a painless way to replace fillings. After favorable results in the lab, human clinical trials are underway on the "plasma brush."

In less than 30 seconds, the plasma brush uses chemical reactions to disinfect and clean out for fillings. In addition to the bacteria-killing properties, the "cool flame" from the plasma brush forms a better bond for cavity fillings. The involved with the plasma brush actually change the surface of the tooth, which allows for a strong and robust bonding with the filling material.

"There have been no side effects reported during the lab trials, and we expect the human trials to help us improve the prototype," said Qingsong Yu, associate professor of mechanical and of MU, and Meng Chen, chief scientist from Nanova, Inc., which holds a co-patent for the plasma brush with MU.

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University of Missouri engineers and their research collaborators at Nanova, Inc. are one step closer to a painless way to replace fillings. After favorable results in the lab, human clinical trials are underway on the “plasma brush.” Credit: MU News Bureau

"200 million tooth restorations cost Americans an estimated $50 billion a year, and it is estimated that replacement fillings comprise 75 percent of a dentist's work. The plasma brush would help reduce those costs," said Hao Li, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the MU College of Engineering. "In addition, a tooth can only support two or three restorations before it must be pulled. Our studies indicate that fillings are 60 percent stronger with the plasma brush, which would increase the filling lifespan. This would be a big benefit to the patient, as well as and ."

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User comments : 8

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bredmond
not rated yet Dec 20, 2011
Does this mean no drill?
Isaacsname
not rated yet Dec 20, 2011
Wow, I think that's a type of sputtering ?

http://en.wikiped...uttering
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2011
Wow, I think that's a type of sputtering

Actually it could be used for gold plating of teeth sometimes later. And not just teeth.
plasticpower
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
Well, looks like 2013 is when I'm going to the dentist next time. Screw the drill!!!
JRi
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
I understand that this is not going to replace the drill. What it does is it treats the surface of the drilled tooth surface so that it gets -OH groups (if it is O2-plasma, or micro roughening, if argon plasma). The filling has then possibility to chemically adhere to the tooth. Plasma treatment is standard pretreatment industrially of plastic surfaces before applying a second layer, often made of different material.
Blakut
3 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2011
They tried to use a small laser instead of a drill, an uni colleague of mine was working with a prof. on a project. Turns out, the laser was good at drilling holes, only drawback was that it gave people cancers... But this was the physics part of the research, not the medical part, so everyone focused on how to drill the holes better :)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
Does this mean no drill?

Depends on what kind of inlays you get. If they are pre-formed (i.e. large cavities) you probably still need a drill to get a workable geometry. For smaller cavities this would probably mean no drill.

Turns out, the laser was good at drilling holes, only drawback was that it gave people cancers...

At the lab I was working at there was a similar group. The problem is that with lasers you char the surface (which means you produce mutagens/carcinogens).

The way they got around this was by rapidly injecting a small bit of water and using short laser bursts to evaporate it. These 'cool' microexplosions did the actual drilling. Works beautifully and very precise on bones and teeth without any charring.

They then founded a company that uses the method to do laser cutting of carbon fibre parts for the aeronautics industry without charring.
jakack
not rated yet Dec 23, 2011
I wonder if it's possible to arc. Have you ever been shocked on a tooth!? It really ZINGs!!

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