Fillings often fail because bacteria attach and create plaque along the outside edges (margins) of the filling. This can cause secondary tooth decay. Silver amalgam fillings offer some antibacterial action, but pose their own down sides, including possible toxicity and lack of aesthetics. Tooth colored composite filling materials offer better aesthetics, but don’t offer any antibacterial protection.
A new composite material incorporates an antibacterial chemical, Fmocpentafluoro-L-phenylalaine, within the crystal structure, using a nano-technology. This chemical self assembles within the filling composite material, offering protection from cavities forming along the filling margin (secondary tooth decay). Often, when antibacterial agents have been added to composite materials, their presence can alter the restoration material’s crystal structure. This can cause changes in physical characteristics including strength, and longevity. The inclusion of this new antibacterial, self-assembling, nano-chemical did not change any of the physical characteristics and still prevented tooth decay through its antibacterial action.