Coming Soon: Replacement Tooth Enamel

Ultra-thin coating in the works in Japan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 17, 2012 12:14 PM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2012 8:04 AM CDT
Japanese scientists have created a film to wrap your teeth.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Sensitive teeth may soon be a thing of the past. Scientists in Japan have created a super-thin film they hope will be able to cover our teeth, reports the AFP. It's made from hydroxyapatite, a key mineral in tooth enamel. "Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel," says one. It could be used "to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel."

The film, just 0.004 millimeters thick, is created by shooting lasers at a block of the mineral; that pushes out particles which are then heated. Once it's dried, it can be lifted with tweezers, the Age reports. "The moment you put it on a tooth surface, it becomes invisible. You can barely see it if you examine it under a light," says the scientist. A white version could also be made for cosmetic reasons. But it'll be three years before the film is ready for cosmetic use—and five before it can be used to protect enamel-less areas. (Read more teeth stories.)

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