After a dental restoration, there is the possibility of filtering the saliva and bacteria present in the mouth through the material that was placed. This can compromise the success of the intervention in the medium term and even lead to dental diseases. For this reason, a dentist and a doctor from the University of Costa Rica will develop a device that allows us to evaluate a dental material in an in vitro environment.

“What has been seen in several studies is that one of the main reasons why a dental treatment can fail is by microfiltration of fluids, for example, when you have a restoration, if it is not well adapted, the quality of the material was not optimal, or the material was subject to excessive forces, then that material begins to loosen, and the penetration of the bacteria contained in the saliva causes a detachment of the restoration and then other diseases appear, “explains Daniel Chavarría, one of the creators of the project.

The automatic microfiltration evaluator (EMA) has two chambers that house barometric sensors that measure the pressure of the nitrogen gas that is supplied and a space to place the sample disc in the middle of them. All this is connected to a computer that will receive the data through the software that the scientists also developed.

Then, the dental piece that is to be analyzed is placed inside the disc space, it is fitted between the two chambers of the device and the gas under pressure is started in the first chamber.

If there is no increase in pressure in the second chamber when the gas is injected, it means that there is no leakage. If the pressure in the second chamber increases, it means the gas managed to pass through the tooth and the material. That is, there is leakage.

Although the technology of measuring microfiltration is not new, it is tedious to apply. If a work team decides to apply this methodology, they should always build their own equipment and validate the technique. With the EMA, this is not necessary anymore.

In addition, the sensors included in the device generate 16 measurements per second, so in a five-minute experiment it is possible to obtain a large amount of data that can be tabulated almost immediately.

The project began in 2014, when Chavarría was assigned to a student of Pediatric Dentistry to develop a thesis on filtration. Since then, it has become an interdisciplinary process involving the Cicanum of the UCR and the University of San Luis de Potosí in Mexico.

The device is in a patent process with Proinnova of the UCR, who since February of this year submitted an application through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system with a view to expanding the patent to other countries.

Currently, both the project participants and their counterpart in Proinnova are working on optimizing the method, designing a second prototype and looking for companies producing scientific devices that are interested in a license to market the device.

Valeria López

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Universidad de Costa Rica - UCR

Vicerrectoria de Investigación
Proinnova UCR

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