This project proposes three PhD studies to address the problems of (i) caries and (ii) enamel erosion by acidic foods (leading to sensitive teeth). In both cases, encouraging re-mineralisation (the formation of new calcium phosphate) can help avoid these problems. Where restorative work is required, re-mineralisation has potential to enhance the lifetime of restorations and so further reduce the number of visits to dentists.
The PhD studies will represent a big challenge to the students selected, since knowledge of both materials chemistry and biology will be required. It is proposed that the students will spend 18 months at LUCIDEON developing novel powder materials in three generic areas: bioglass, sol-gel, and ceramics. In all cases, compositions will be based on calcium and phosphate, since it is release of these elements over time that will assist re-mineralisation. During the second half of their PhDs at the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), the students will assess the performance of these powders (both mechanically and biologically) in specific formulations (for example as part of a novel glass-ionomer cement restoration).
The success of the collaboration will depend on strong day-to-day mentoring by technical experts, attendance at seminars covering powder processing, in-vitro testing and biological testing and the material devices regulation, as well as students gaining an appreciation of the practicalities of material supply and dentistry.