KOTA BARU, Malaysia — 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, according to The Star Online.
Team leader Prof. Dr. Ismail Ab Rahmansaid the innovation, which would potentially replace the conventional amalgam dental filling, was the culmination of a research that began in 2011 under a USM 3-year research grant of RM242,500 (US76,586).
"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%, and the estimated cost of producing 4 gms of Composite Rice Husk (CRH) was only RM44 (US14) compared to the amalgam market price of between RM130 (US41) and RM200 (US63), depending on grade.
"Amalgam has been used as dental fillings for a long time but they can be toxic if used incorrectly, corrosive and unaesthetic. The color 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.