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C. New Technology May Lead To Better Tooth Restoration

Narrator: This is Science Today. An x-ray microscope developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is helping dental researchers get a clearer picture of tooth dentin, the porous material under the hard enamel of teeth. Physicist John Kinney says because there's not a lot of tissue in dentin, it was not easy to study before.

Kinney: The relationship of this structure to its function and to its mechanical performance is really not very well known at all.

Narrator: With this new microscope, researchers can get a 3-D, high resolution image of the dentin tissue the size of a human cell. Understanding this material may lead to better methods and materials to create more permanent bonds between the tooth and the plastic-based fillings now being used to repair most cavities.

Kinney: We've created a model now if it comes out that the model predicts what we actually measure, then I think for the first time we'll be able to have a true three-dimensional model of the mechanical properties of the tooth, which will be invaluable for studying interfaces with the restoration.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.