Sunday, June 9, 2013

USM researchers produce world’s first organic composite dental filling

A team of researchers from the School of Dental Science at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Kubang Kerian here have produced the world's first organic composite dental filling, made from rice husk.

Team leader Prof Dr Ismail Ab Rahman said the innovation, which would potentially replace the conventional amalgam dental filling, was the culmination of a research which began in 2011 under a USM three-year research grant of RM242,500.

"It complies with dental international standards, can be produced at a lower cost, has a longer shelf life and a conceivably wide market," he told a press conference here on Sunday.

Dr Ismail said they chose rice husk because it had a comparably high silica content of 10 percent, and the estimated cost of producing 4gms of Composite Rice Husk (CRH) was only RM44 compared to the amalgam market price of between RM130 and RM200, depending on grade.

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"Amalgam has been used as dental fillings for a long time but they can be toxic if used incorrectly, corrosive and unaesthetic. The colour of nanocomposite resin is similar to teeth, hence the choice," he said of the innovation which bagged a gold medal at the 24th International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2013 last month.

Meanwhile, another USM researcher, Dr Zuraida Zainun also won a gold medal at the exhibition for her Bal ex Zuraida-Shah Rotatory Chair which can be used for body imbalance therapy and rehabilitation.

"The U.S. first invented the chair which costs RM275,000 each; there are only two in Malaysia, at Hospital Prince Court and Pantai Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

“I took the initiative to produce it, with the cooperation of researchers from Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UNIMAP), at a cost of only about RM11,000," she said.

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