BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have developed denture composites that can coexist harmoniously with human teeth by combining exceptional elasticity and hardness, according to a study paper published in the journal of Advanced Materials.
The available synthetic dental materials in zirconia ceramics have a hardness that is 20 times higher than human tooth dentin and accelerate the abrasion of the neighboring and opposite tooth. They generally demonstrate relatively poor damage tolerance.
Inspired by the natural shell layer of nacre, Chinese researchers from the Institute of Metal Research Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jilin University cooperated with American scientists to develop ceramic-polymer composites, which resemble human dentin and enamel in hardness and strength and have high fracture toughness.
The bionic composite materials proved to exhibit a smaller coefficient of friction than the zirconia ceramics and reduce the abrasion of the human tooth.
The paper said these new denture materials can be designed and manufactured in hospitals, shortening the patients' wait time.
The researchers have been working with hospitals to put the materials into clinical practice. The design principles of new materials can also be extended to a wide range of material systems for improved mechanical performance, said the paper.