What to do if a tooth is simply beyond saving? An artificial replacement has to be fashioned. Dentists and patients alike would like a product that is colorfast, strong and can be fitted so quickly that a patient can wait for it without leaving the dentist's chair. Dr. Bernhard Durschang and Dr. Jörn Probst of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC have now developed a denture that has exactly those qualities.
Glass ceramics are considered old hat in dentistry. The new development, however, takes the material into the future, because it offers several advantages over conventional glass ceramics: The color of the denture can be perfectly matched to the color of the patient’s teeth, and it can be used so quickly and individually that it is ready on the spot. In addition, with a strength of 450 to 500 megapascals, it is much stronger than conventional glass ceramics, whose strength measures around 350 MPa.
The project ranged from the inception of the idea to the development of the material to a CI-certified production plant. Meanwhile, the innovative glass ceramic is being used by many dentists. Annual sales of these glass ceramics at the two partner companies has already reached the double-digit million range with a yearly growth rate of around 20 percent.