At a glance 1 min

Antibacterial artificial tooth

Antibacterial artificial tooth
Antibacterial artificial tooth

According to the WHO, cavities are one of the most widespread infectious diseases in the world. They affect 80% of the world's population, including 60 to 90% of all school-aged children and almost 100% of all adults. 

Based on this medical observation, researchers at Groningen University in the Netherlands have developed a 3D-printable antimicrobial plastic. According to tests carried out in their laboratories, when the plastic is covered in saliva, over 99% of the bacteria responsible for cavities are eliminated. The material is made up of antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts. When positively charged, the salts disrupt the negatively-charged bacteria which explode and die upon contact. However, the material is completely harmless to human cells.

The material, which is in the form of a resin, is printed by stereolithography, a 3D printing process which entails curing a resin with a UV ray. The researchers were able to print various dental prostheses and orthodontic braces which were used for the above-mentioned tests. The results were very promising, and the researchers at Groningen University are already considering extending their research to other applications such as toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.

According to Dr. Hermann, one of the team's researchers, "it is a medical discovery with practical applications in the near future; developing this product should take less time than developing a new drug".

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love the next!
  • A safer needle
    At a glance 1 min
    A safer needle

    According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study, some 1.3 million people die every year from infections: hepatitis C or B or HIV, contracted as a result of accidental needle-sticking injuries. A ...

  • A tooth to restore sight
    At a glance 1 min
    A tooth to restore sight

    A team in Marseille restored partial sight to blind patients, thanks to a complex and rare surgical technique known as the osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis. The osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis is a mixe...

  • Hyperelastic 3D bone
    At a glance 1 min
    Hyperelastic 3D bone

    3D-printing and grafting a flexible artificial bone in an operating theatre: that was the technological and scientific challenge that researchers at Chicago's Northwestern University decided to take o...