Explorer Grant (2017 funding round)

Dr Azam Ali
University of Otago, Dunedin
'No drill, no fill' - a novel substitute to regrow teeth
24 months

Lay summary

Dental caries remains a major public health concern in New Zealand, as well as worldwide, and the management of this disease requires large sums of public health funding and resources. Decay is caused by acid, produced as a by-product from the feeding of oral bacteria on sugars that demineralises teeth creating cavities/holes. The predominant treatment is to ‘drill and fill’ with inert filling materials. Though current materials can be used to replace lost tooth structure they can’t regrow hard dental tissues. Therefore, a significant topic of research in dentistry and material science is to develop a material capable of regenerating lost dental tissues.

This project aims to develop a biomimetic system with a combination of locally sourced natural polymers and bioceramics that can restore and potentially trigger remineralization and regrowth of dental tissues. The results of the study might create new treatment option for prevention and restoration of dental caries.

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