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New Dentin Research ‘Grape’ News for Resin-bonded Fillings

Written by Consumer Guide to Dentistry   Last modified on November 21, 2017

Let’s be honest… nobody really enjoys going to the dentist. It’s one of those things in life that is necessary, but is rarely a good time (especially if you haven’t been keeping up with the brushing and flossing). Dentists take this in stride, often joking to their patients that the better care they take of their teeth and oral health, the less time they’ll need to spend in the dentist’s chair getting treatment. But the reality is that no matter how much you care for your teeth, you’ll eventually find yourself in need of one or more dental fillings.

Fillings are common dental restorations used to repair teeth damaged by decay. These restorations and restorative materials are continuously evolving to the benefit of patients everywhere. More durability, longer-lasting, greater aesthetics… the list of improvements is significant. Whereas gold and amalgam dental fillings used to be the standard, composites now dominant the game.

We’re keen to highlight any research or product development that benefits the dental consumer. A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry sheds light on a new development that does just that. And it’s big news in the fight against tooth decay.

Grape seed extract has been at the center of a number of health-related studies recently. Drawn from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes, the extract has already been linked with a number of healthful benefits, including aiding cardiovascular health and helping to treat diabetic eye conditions. But this new study, conducted by Ana Bedran-Russo, DDS, MS, PhD, suggests a dental benefit to grape seed extract that could prolong the life of resin-bonded fillings. Given the prevalence of tooth decay and the constant need for dental fillings, this is welcome news.

The key to the findings from this new study relate to how resin restorations actually bond with the teeth. Resins bind with dentin (the collagen-rich layer beneath the outer enamel layer) to keep restorations like composite fillings in place. Over time, this bond between resin and dentin breaks down, and the restoration eventually needs replacing. Teeth grinding and everyday wear and tear, combined with the natural wear of dentin slowly weakens the bond over the years. (For example, composite fillings may only last five to seven years.)

Dr. Russo’s UIC study found that grape seed extract strengthened dentin by helping repair damaged collagen. And this benefit is not merely reparative. Stronger adhesion between dentin and resin restorations could actually be achieved with the aid of grape seed extract, essentially extending the life of your restorations.

Why This Matters

This study is great news for dentists in that it helps them deliver a better product. It’s even better for the patients because it means that the restorations are going to last longer, giving every patient more “bang” for the “buck.” And perhaps more importantly for those among us that don’t look forward to their dental visit, it means more time between the visits needed to replace worn restorations. That’s what I call win-win-win.

To learn more about this study, check out this comprehensive report from the College of Dentistry: