Non-Equilibrium Atmospheric Plasmas for Biomineral Deposition

Investigators: Liang Hong and Yong Wang, UMKC-Dentistry; Qingsong Yu and Hao Li, UMC-Engineering
Dental caries or tooth decay is an infectious, microbological disease that results in destruction of tooth structure. Dental caries continues to be a serious public health problem in the United States and other countries. Fortunately, dental caries is both preventable and treatable. At early stage, it is reversible by remineralization methods. Current existing strategies of remineralization and prevention for dental caries utilize varnish, rinse, gel, or paste to locally deliver fluoride, calcium, and phosphate to demineralized and/or normal tooth surface to repair/strengthen acid resistance of tooth surface. Some disadvantages associated with these remineralization delivery methods are low efficiency, low penetration, and low concentration and retention. Non-equilibrium, low-temperature plasma are partially ionized gases that contain highly reactive particles including electronically excited atoms, molecules, ionic and free radical species. The proposed project is to conduct a study to explore the feasibility of using atmospheric plasmas to topically deliver calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to enamel substrates. A multidisciplinary research team with combined expertise and experience in plasma technology, chemical engineering, material science/engineering, biochemical characterization, and clinical dentistry is working closely to conduct the proposed project.