There is good news for those who do not want to spend too much time on the dental chair as researchers have now discovered a new dental filling material that is faster to harden.
The new generation of photoactive materials is based on the element Germanium.
In modern dentistry, white composite materials that are more commonly are based on photoactive materials that harden when they are exposed to light.
But as the light does not penetrate very deeply into the material, the patients often have to endure a cumbersome procedure in which the fillings are applied and hardened in several steps.
The penetration depth of the light depends on its wavelength. "Usually, light in the violet and ultraviolet region is used," said Robert Liska from Vienna University of Technology.
It is also possible to use light with longer wavelengths, which penetrates deeper into the material, but then the polymerisation process is less efficient.
If the filling cannot be hardened in one step, the procedure has to be repeated several times and if the cavity is large, this can be rather uncomfortable.
This problem can now be solved with a new Germanium-based molecule, said the study.
The molecule is split into two parts by blue light, creating radicals, which initiate a chain reaction: molecular compounds, which are already present in the filling, assemble into polymers, and the material hardens.
The Germanium-based photo initiator was created at the Vienna University of Technology and then extensively tested by Ivoclar Vivadent.