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LSUHSC DENTAL RESEARCHER FUNDED TO DEVELOP BETTER DENTAL MATERIALS

New Orleans, LA – Xiaoming, Xu, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Biomaterials Research at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1.77 million over four years by the National Institutes of Health to develop new antibacterial, fluoride-releasing, and bioactive dental materials including dental composites, bonding agents, and sealants. Currently most dental fillings and cosmetic restorations, including bonding and veneers, are done with resin-based dental composites – tooth-colored, plastic, and glass materials. Dr. Xu is working to develop the next generation of dental materials designed to reduce the secondary cavities that often develop around dental resin-based composite fillings as they shrink, causing them to fail. The new materials are expected to reduce secondary cavities and to prolong the life of restorations.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable. For the latest reporting period (1999-2004), the percentage of people who have had cavities in their permanent teeth are 92% of adults 20 to 64, 59% of adolescents 12 to 19, and 92% of seniors 65 and older. Forty-two percent of children 2 to 11 have had cavities in their primary teeth.

“The development of these materials has the potential to make a huge impact on oral health care and oral health quality of life, in particular for the vast number of people at high risk for cavities – children, the elderly, those medically compromised who suffer from xerostomia or dry mouth, and those with mental or physical challenges,” notes Dr. Xu.

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LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the State of Louisiana. Through its doctor of dental surgery, dental hygiene, and dental laboratory technology degree programs, LSUHSC’’s dental school educates about 70% of the dental professionals practicing in Louisiana. Dental school faculty and students provide oral health care through clinics in metropolitan New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria, Hammond, Houma, and Independence. With the only oral health center of excellence in Louisiana, faculty at the LSUHSC School of Dentistry are working to improve oral health and quality of life.

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