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Friday, Aug. 5th 2016

Silicon Nitride: Dental Restoration Material of the Future?

Si3N4bearingsIf a joint US-Japan research team is correct, silicon nitride may be the new dental restoration material to contend with.  Besides the strength needed for effective restorations, the compound has impressive effects on gingivitis-causing bacteria.  Bacteria sticking to the material goes through radical changes to its genetic makeup, ending in death.

Time will tell how silicon nitride effects the dental industry.  The material is already used for orthopedic devices such as spinal fusion.  It’s also used for ball bearings, which are harder than metal ball bearings.  Among its various current uses—including engine parts, cutting tools, electronics and more—none of them have the aesthetics needed for dental restorations.

The biggest challenge in adopting silicon nitride for dental restorations may be aesthetics.  Of all the material’s uses, none of them currently match our industry’s shading and translucency needs.  It may be years before silicon nitride is developed into an aesthetic material that still displays its antibiotic properties.


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