Polymeric dental resins and composites are finding increasing applications in dentistry and allied biomedical fields, such as orthopedics. This complex research area involves the design, synthesis, and development of biostable composites with optimal physicochemical, mechanical, and other critical materials properties such as high conversion and low polymerization shrinkage. Further, composites are being designed to be bioactive through the incorporation of remineralizing potential, antimicrobial properties, or biofilm control strategies. We seek to investigate structure-property relationships at all levels, including basic resin chemistries (free radical polymerization, biocatalysis), silane-modified inorganic fillers, and the final overall polymeric composites. From synthesis to materials characterization, we are developing methods to accelerate quantitative characterization and evaluation of experimental resins, polymers, and their composites. Examples include new, high resolution imaging techniques to study microstructure of polymeric interphases in composites and between adhesives, enamel, and dentin; new measurement methods and computational models to study kinetics of polymerization shrinkage and modulus development; and new methods to predict long term performance of polymeric composites.
Bioactive; Composites; Nanocomposites; Biomaterials; Dental materials; Polymerization stress; Polymerization shrinkage; Computational modeling; Antimicrobial materials; Mineralization;