Dental caries, i.e., tooth decay mediated by bacterial activity, is the most widespread chronic disease worldwide. Carious lesions are commonly treated using dental resin composite restorations. However, resin composite restorations are prone to recurrent caries, i.e., reinfection of the surrounding dental hard tissues. Recurrent caries is mainly a consequence of waterborne and/or biofilm-mediated degradation of the tooth-restoration interface through hydrolytic, acidic and/or enzymatic challenges. Here we use amphipathic antimicrobial peptides to directly coat dentin to provide resin composite restorations with a 2-tier protective system, simultaneously exploiting the physicochemical and biological properties of these peptides. Our peptide coatings modulate dentin's hydrophobicity, impermeabilize it, and are active against multispecies biofilms derived from caries-active individuals. Therefore, the coatings hinder water penetration along the otherwise vulnerable dentin/restoration interface, even after in vitro aging, and increase its resistance against degradation by water, acids, and saliva. Moreover, they do not weaken the resin composite restorations mechanically. The peptide-coated highly-hydrophobic dentin is expected to notably improve the service life of resin composite restorations and to enable the development of entirely hydrophobic restorative systems. The peptide coatings were also antimicrobial and thus, they provide a second tier of protection preventing re-infection of tissues in contact with restorations. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: We present a technology using designer peptides to treat the most prevalent chronic disease worldwide; dental caries. Specifically, we used antimicrobial amphipathic peptides to coat dentin with the goal of increasing the service life of the restorative materials used to treat dental caries, which is nowadays 5 years on average. Water and waterborne agents (enzymes, acids) degrade restorative materials and enable re-infection at the dentin/restoration interface. Our peptide coatings will hinder degradation of the restoration as they produced highly hydrophobic and antimicrobial dentin/material interfaces. We anticipate a high technological and economic impact of our technology as it can notably reduce the lifelong dental bill of patients worldwide. Our findings can enable the development of restorations with all-hydrophobic and so, more protective components.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptide; Dental restoration; Dentin; GL13K; Hydrophobic coating; Recurrent caries.
Copyright © 2019 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.