The body’s immune system likely plays a role in the development of caries and breakdown of dental restorative materials, according to a new University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry study. When neutrophils become activated by bacteria in the mouth, these white blood cells release enzymes that attack the bacteria and degrade the tooth’s structure and composite resin restorations.
Researchers used neutrophils isolated from blood to coat parts of extracted teeth and the restoration material. The team used electron microscopy to observe the white blood cells breaking down. The study, “Human Neutrophils Degrade Methacrylate Resin Composites and Tooth Dentin,” was published in Acta Biomaterialia.