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Collaborative Success Stories: A Reason to Smile


University of Missouri scientists have invented new dental technologies.

Collaborating with Meng Chen at Nanova Inc., Hao Li and Qingsong Yu have developed a revolutionary new plasma brush for dentists to prepare tooth cavities for filling through chemical reactions. The plasma brush kills bacteria and forms a better bond between the tooth and the filling – making the need for a future replacement less likely.

“One hundred-forty million tooth restorations cost Americans an estimated $50 billion a year, and it is estimated that replacement fillings constitute 75 percent of a dentist’s work,” says Li. “The plasma brush would help reduce those costs.”

The plasma brush is just one innovation the scientists have developed through MU and their biomedical device firm. Formed with the assistance of MU’s Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers, Nanova uses tiny strands called nanofibers – 1,000 times smaller than a human hair but stronger than stainless steel – to create bioabsorbable bone screws as well as an FDA-approved filling composite (NovaProTM) that is stronger and longer-lasting than current composites.

Their work has captured global notice, with international venture capitalists investing more than $13 million in Nanova to produce dental products based on the nanomaterial technology.

Drs. Hao Li and Qingsong Yu are faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine