New photoactive molecule for dental filling material hardens faster

Austrian researchers have developed a new generation of photoactive materials for dental filling material that hardens faster than traditional dental composites.

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wienn), in collaboration with Ivoclar Vivadent, have developed a new generation of photoactive composite materials based on the element germanium, according to a university press release.

As composites are based on photoactive materials that harden when exposed to light, the light must penetrate deeply into the material or patients will have to endure a procedure in which the fillings are applied and hardened in several steps. This issue can now be solved with the new germanium-based molecule. It makes up only 0.04% of the composite material but plays a crucial role. The molecule is split into two parts by blue light, which creates radicals that initiate a chain reaction: Molecular compounds, which are already present in the filling, assemble into polymers, and the material hardens.

This research could eventually mean less time spent by patients in the dental chair.

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