Researchers have developed a method of restoring tooth enamel by adding a complex of amino acids to hydroxyapatite, a strategy they say has “huge potential for application” in dental practices.
Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring component of teeth and bones, comprising 97% of tooth enamel and 70% of tooth dentin, and mixing it with amino acids can create coating that replicates the composition and microstructure of natural tooth enamel.
According to the study, Engineering of biomimetic mineralized layer formed on the surface of natural dental enamel engineering, a biomimetic mineralized layer on the surface of native dental tissue (bio-template) was key to that replication. They achieved that mineralized layer with nanocrystalline carbonate-substituted calcium hydroxyapatite (HAp), calcium alkali, and a complex of polyfunctional organic and polar amino acids.
“By applying the set of structural and spectroscopic methods of analysis we have confirmed the formation of a mineralized biomimetic HAp layer on the surface of bio-template with properties resembling those of natural hard tissue … our work aimed to develop a concept for the engineering of a biomimetic mineralized layer on the surface of natural dental tissue as well as the study of its structural-spectroscopic features.”
Current restorative techniques involve acid etching of the enamel to increase the bonding effect, which sometimes leaves behind products that aren’t conducive to the bonding of enamel and synthetic materials.
The new method of using HAp can be used to reduce the sensitivity of teeth in case of enamel abrasion or to restore it after erosion. Overall, researchers said their strategy for biomimetic engineering and technique for enamel surface pre-treatment to provide tissue mineralization has a “huge potential for application in dental clinic practices.”
A growing cohort of dental professionals espouse HAp for its usefulness as a natural means of remineralization: “HAp should be a no-brainer when it comes to substances able to remineralize our teeth,” wrote Jacqueline Carcaramo in "Hydroxyapatite: A way to brush your teeth with their natural components?" “The benefits of this ingredient being biomimetic are that once we place it on the teeth, the body knows what to do with it as it is already a familiar component. The small particles adhere to the tooth structure and fill in the weaker, demineralized areas, binding to the tooth and creating a stronger surface. This can also decrease sensitivity and give a whiter appearance to the teeth.”