This Biomimetic Tech Could Mean Fewer Trips to the Dentist (You’re Welcome)

Mussels may be the key to stronger, more durable
dental implants. Those little, shelled ocean critters, not,
like your bicep… just to be clear. There are a lot of problems with the current
materials that dentists use for cavity fillings, crowns and other dental implants. For example, they fall out. Normal everyday things like chewing and eating
hard or acidic foods can wear down a filling and its bonding with the surrounding tooth. And this can lead to the filling cracking
or falling out. God forbid you chew… with your teeth! And the problem of the falling-out fillings
could be solved by mussels! Well, not actually mussels, but the adhesive
they use to stick to things. For years, scientists have been searching
for a strong, reliable, adhesive. And now, inspired by nature, they think they’ve
found it. These little creatures have an incredible
ability to tightly stick to wet surfaces like rocks and boats and hang on for dear life. And because of this bonding, they can withstand
a lot – pummelling waves, blistering, dry heat, and salt water cycles. They do this with what are called byssal threads. They reach out from inside the shell to help
mussels attach themselves to things. And they’re super resistant to breaking. Byssal threads are 5 times stronger than our
strongest tendon, the Achilles. These threads contain a group of catecholic
compounds which let them stick to a variety of wet surfaces, through bonds on the sub-nanoscopic
molecular level! Because this adhesion works so well in water,
it has been looked at for use in surgery and even for the U.S. Navy. And now there’s another group who want this
stuff. Dentists. Scientists have tried using a dental bonding
material made from catecholic compounds and it is very promising. Implants adhered with this material had a
10 times stronger bond and a 50 percent increase in toughness! It’s still in it’s early stages but this
sounds super promising! Less broken or displaced implants mean less
trips to the dentist. Which is basically life goals, let’s be
real. You know those nights where you’re like
“eh, I realllly don’t feel like brushing my teeth” so you don’t? Do you know what that does to your teeth? Find out here. Do you hate the dentist or are you one of
the few people that love it? Let us know down in the comments, subscribe
and come back for more Seeker.


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