A new type of simulation allows dentists to see how much tension will be present in different types of dental fillings before they use them in a patient's mouth.
When a dentist uses soft plastic to fill a cavity, problems may arise due to the material's tendency to shrink as it hardens.
This causes tension that often results in small gaps between the filling and tooth, which in turn may lead to further cavities.
Now, for the first time, German researchers have been able to create a model of this process of hardening in a variety of cavity shapes so that dentists can more accurately predict individual results.
It is also hoped that the findings will aid manufacturers in developing more effective dental products.
"We theoretically subdivide the dental filling into thousands of small parcels and calculate how each element affects its neighbor," explained researcher Dr Christof Koplin.
According to the American Dental Association, amalgam fillings are the most researched and tested type of filling used in the U.S.
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