Lucideon’s healthcare division has announced it is developing new glass-based technology which has the potential to transform dental care globally.
The international materials technology specialist has invested in a new bioactive glass laboratory at its headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent and appointed three PhD students to lead research in the field.
Projects are already being undertaken by Lucideon for dental applications in products such as toothpastes and composite fillings.
One year ago Lucideon, together with the University of Lyon, successfully applied to run Biodensol – a 7th framework European project to provide a network for initial training in the field of dentistry.
The project will support the three PhD students as they research and employ novel powder materials, which alongside glass includes ceramics and sol-gel, to create new, improved dental products, such as longer-life fillings or products that tackle caries or tooth enamel erosion.
The new team is being supported by Lucideon’s renowned glass and ceramics experts and the company is expecting to recruit more staff in the near future to drive forward the investment.
Lucideon’s business manager for Healthcare Gemma Budd commented: “Bioactive glasses dissolve under certain conditions and as they dissolve they release ions, such as calcium and phosphate, which cause a positive effect in the body.
“In bones there are cells that use these ions to grow new bone, but in the mouth there are no tooth cells on the outside, so once the enamel, which is a ceramic material anyway, gets destroyed by acid attack it can’t repair itself.
Budd continued: “We are working on bioactive glasses that work with the natural mouth environment to cause remineralisation – or prevent demineralization – of tooth enamel, ultimately promoting healthy teeth.
“Furthermore, because the new enamel is synthetic, it can be made stronger and more resilient to future attack, by making it a harder ceramic, or using the release of these ions as sacrificial agents or buffers to further damage.
The manager noted: “Not many people know just how versatile glass can be and tend to think of it as brittle window panes, but we are able to manipulate its properties so that it does so much more.
“The new glass facility enables us to undertake glass design, development and pilot scale manufacture and processing. It also provides a specialised environment for healthcare-related work that is clean and controlled.”
The company is enjoying major growth and is on track to increase its workforce by more than 50% over the coming three years.
It also recently announced the opening of a new facility at the world-renowned Cambridge Science Park, as well as a new facility in North Carolina to tap into the US region’s acclaimed expertise in materials science, and have better access to American markets.
The new centre in the US joins existing Lucideon facilities in South Carolina and New York.