Dentistry is not restricted to simply drilling and filling your teeth. Some recently published dental research used  the Zetasizer Nano for a project that aims to use molecular technology to restore teeth in future.

Restoring your enamel

Tooth enamel is one of the few substances in the body which is not dynamic i.e., is not changed and restored during your lifetime. Once you lose an adult tooth, it’s gone forever. However, new research from the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is showing increasing potential for the development of new self-assembly proteins called amelogenins in the restoration of tooth enamel.

Published in this month’s issue of Dentistry magazine, Dr Vuk Uskokovic’s article ‘Brittle as Glass’ is also available online.

Zetasizer potential

Dr Uskokovic measured both the dynamic and electrophoretic light scattering produced during the self-assembly of an extracellular matrix (structural) protein  under various environmental conditions. This has shown a likelihood that zeta potential might act as a primary control mechanism in the self-assembly of proteins in general.

The San Francisco team has been able to combine the dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential measurement capabilities of  the Zetasizer Nano to characterize the interaction between the amelogenin protein, which makes up 90% of the tooth enamel matrix, and the mineral component, hydroxyapatite. Self assembly of amelogenin is thought to be intimately involved in guiding the formation of enamel crystals.

Hope for the future

It’s a fascinating piece of research and it could have enormous potential in dental and bone research in the coming years. Giving some hope to those who have dental conditions such as dental caries or enamel hypoplasia (malformation of enamel) and also those suffering from loss of bone substance following the bone inflammatory disease osteomyelitis.