Keller Awarded Grant to Research Self-healing Teeth Fillings

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pilot project to provide mechanical repair to dental composite chemicals currently used in fillings.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Michael Keller was awarded an OCAST Health Research Grant to investigate self-healing dental composites. The grant is a collaborative effort between Keller and Sharukh Khajotia, Assistant Dean for Research and Advanced Programs at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Michael KellerKeller and Khajotia have launched a pilot project that would provide mechanical repair to dental composite chemicals currently used in teeth fillings.

“The materials used in fillings over the past 20 years have become more aesthetically appealing, but are weaker than the old-school metal fillings,” Keller says. “The average composite life can be as low as three to eight years; but going forward, we’d like to double that and prolong the life of the filling.”

With the help of the three-year OCAST grant, the researchers will test a series of biocompatible healing agents that can automatically repair cracked or leaky fillings. The funding will allow Keller and Khajotia to optimize their approach and investigate the self-healing ability of their new materials.

“We’re not starting from scratch. We’re basically adding another material to existing dental composites that can self-heal damage in the filling,” Keller says.

The new composite formula will result in fillings that last substantially longer than what is currently available, reducing the number of new cavities caused by cracked and failing fillings.

Michael Keller