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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H020888/1
Title: Development of a self-disinfecting dental alginate impression material
Principal Investigator: Patel, Professor MP
Other Investigators:
Whiley, Dr R Oxford, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Medicine & Dentistry
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 14 June 2010 Ends: 13 September 2013 Value (£): 365,565
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Biomaterials
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Oct 2009 Materials, Mechanical, Medical Engineering Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
An important part of restorative dentistry is taking an impression of the patient's mouth (teeth, gums and palate), in order to obtain a model to be used to construct dentures (partial or full), crowns or bridges. Elastic impression materials are an important class of impression materials; these are applied by the dentist to the patient's mouth as a dough or paste, and accurately reproduce the fine detail of the oral structures. After some minutes, the material sets to an elastic rubber-like gel, whereupon the impression is removed from the mouth, and sent to the dental laboratory where a model is cast. Alginates are supplied to the dentist in a powder form containing other ingredients, including setting agents. The dentist mixes a measured amount of the powder with water, to give a paste, which is placed in a tray and applied to the mouth. The paste sets to a gel after some minutes. Globally alginates are one of the most frequently used elastic impression materials for taking dental impressions. They are the major material used in developing countries, due to their low cost and ease of application. Currently, all dental impression materials are supposed to be disinfected as soon as they are removed from the patient's mouth, in order to minimise the risk of transmitting infectious agents to dental personnel. However, various studies have reported that post-setting disinfection procedures are often not followed, and can compromise the dimensional stability of alginates. There is a risk of microbial cross-infection via the impression material between the patient and dental staff due to microorganisms from the patient's mouth as well as from skin, the impression powder, water contaminants and the environment. Hence, in this study novel self-disinfecting dental alginate formulations are being developed which are effective against a broad spectrum of microbes in order to address the globally recognised need for improved infection control.The main objective of the project is to develop an impression material that is self-disinfecting, non-toxic to the patient and that crucially, is low cost, thereby encouraging its use worldwide. This development will contribute significantly to reducing cross-contamination incidence and risk of infection due to the dental impression handling process from initial taking to final production of the denture.Three formulations will be developed building on earlier work with low pH alginates having anti-viral activity against the Herpes simplex virus. The formulations will be modified for the maintainance of a low pH together with the release of nitric oxide, a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent. Disinfection will be tested on impression materials contaminated with infectious agents from i) the respiratory tract and, due to global concerns of the risk posed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), a model organism for TB (Mycobacterium smegmatis) will also be included, ii) the oral cavity, iii) tap water, iv) the environment and v) skin. Viruses, bacteria and the fungus Candida albicans (the cause of oral infections such as denture stomatitis and thrush) will be used to test the antimicrobial acivity of the formulations. Tests will be performed under conditions simulating the oral cavity, by using artificial saliva and sterile human saliva, and disinfection of contaminants, both on the surface and within the impression material will be examined. To model the transit time from patient to laboratory, the killing rates for the alginates will be investigated.
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