Dental Materials: Structural Aspects of Biomaterials Lecture – Professor Lisa Pruitt (Transcript)


Okay. We will kick off lecture today. We’re going to move onto dental tissues and their replacements. It’s actually probably a good timing following up on Professor Ritchie’s lecture where he talked about bone fracture and moved that into the role of fracture in teeth. Actually if you read the College of Engineering LabVIEW notes this month, the article featured actually is on Professor Ritchie, I think you will find that interesting, he talks a lot about how it’s moved from fracture of ceramics and engineering materials into fracture mechanics of bone. So it’s a nice short article that I think you’ll find quite relevant.

Dental tissues and replacements overview

Okay. So we’ve got a few examples with us today that we’ll go through as we get to the end of class but we’re just going to start with just a basic overview of dental tissues and their replacements and so the first slide just really is an overview, talk a little bit about the structure of a tooth, we’re going to look at this in cross-section in terms of structure. So again this builds on what Professor Richie talked about in terms of the constituents of occlusals and how they’re oriented and how that plays a role in the basic mechanical properties. Then we will look at what it takes to actually replace a tooth. So obviously there’s a cross-section, you can see the screw threads here. This is not a real tooth, this is a man-made replacement. And then we’ll look at just titanium and osseointegration and then we will finish up with TMJ implants and look at some of the issues there.

And one of the things that you will hopefully see as themes that a lot of the dental issues and dental materials very much so are like orthopedics. In fact, the two fields go hand-in-hand. We borrowed some things from them. Bone cement is namely the primary material we borrowed from their community. So the dental adhesive that many of you have probably been exposed to is really the same basic chemistry that gave us bone cement for the connection between the metal implant and the bone.

So dental issues, when we think about orthopedics it’s easy to think about total hip replacements, total knee replacement, shoulder replacements or something afflicting the elderly with osteoarthritis. We can get a little more close to home with athletes when we talk about ligament tearing or tendon rupture, or even talking about meniscus tears of the knee. And so then the athletes start to have some relevance. But when you talk about dental, it’s right down to childhood. So you can start to talk about dental decay and loss of teeth right down to a small child who actually has an appropriate tooth protection. And a lot of this has been channeled by the use of fluorine in our water to actually change the solubility of the enamel and also to improve some of the mechanical properties. So lot of people today in this culture don’t experience some of the dental decay that had been experienced in previous decades.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease, so again this is disease where you look at the loss of the bone in the gum line, which then becomes supporting structure for your teeth and so as we lose bone, whether it’s due to by a mechanical loading or whether it’s due to disease or biochemical factors, that becomes a support structure for the actual tooth itself. How many of you have worn braces of some sort? Okay. So here we go, there’s a relevance. Orthodontics, so we won’t really spend a lot of time in here on that but understand that that’s an enormous concept and of mechanical loading of moving teeth. So it’s moving teeth, but it’s also remodeling the bone and actually movement of the supporting structure around the tooth structure itself. So a lot of remodeling has to occur. So again there is a lot of linkage to orthopedics when we talk about orthodontics, and we’ve got two guest lecturers coming up, one from Nitinol Device company and he may not only talk about nitinol as a material for cardiovascular issues and stents but he may actually bring up the use of nitinol as a good material for braces or orthodontics because you could have low force control material because of super elasticity.

And then restorative treatments, and restore treatments can be anything from actually putting on a ceramic crown or just actually doing a reblend of the tooth structure. Something we’re going to see in dental materials that we don’t really see anywhere else are thermal expansion issues and hopefully that makes sense, right, I am sipping here on a hot cup of tea and right before I had my cup of tea I was drinking a cold cup of water. So immediately you start thinking about your temperature differentials that you put in your mouth, right? So every time you’ve had a nice ice cream cone and followed up with hot chocolate you’ve run your tooth through a large delta teeth. So. Delta teeth is really something we don’t tend to think about in the body right, we tend to think a 37 C operational temperature for physiological conditions and plus or minus a degree or so depending on what the situation is but that’s about it. You start talking about dental applications and you could easily have a swing of 50 degree C. So thermal expansion issues are there, and they are there cyclically every day.

So remember we talked about fatigue issues, we said well, fatigue was due to cyclic loading of material, where you can cyclically load due to mechanical issues but you can also cyclically load because of total expansion issues. So every time you put a filling in, you need to be thinking about what the thermal expansion of that material is relative to the tooth surrounding it. So you load up internally with stresses just with the things like amalgams and resins just because of temperature fluctuations.

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