Hydrophobic and antimicrobial dentin: A peptide-based 2-tier protective system for dental resin composite restorations

Dina G. Moussa, Alex Fok, Conrado Aparicio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-265
Number of pages15
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Professor Jorge Perdigao, Professor Sven Gorr, and Dr. Brian N. Holmes, University of Minnesota, for constructive discussions regarding the clinical validity of the methods presented here, the differences in peptide activity between L- and D-GL13K peptides, and the effects of rising methods on hydrophobicity of the peptide coatings, respectively. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Tamer Mansour, University of California-Davis, for generating the R-code used to analyze the mechanical testing data in a reproducible manner; and Professor Robert S. Jones, University of Minnesota, for facilitating the use of microbiology facilities and donating the plaque samples. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Carola Carrera, Ms. Ruoqiong Chen and Ms. Julia Nikrad, University of Minnesota, for technical assistance with the micro-CT experiments and the antimicrobial potency analysis. This research study was supported by the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health , United States [grant number R01DE026117 to C.A. and R90DE023058 to D.G.M.]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funding bodies had no role in study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the report, and in the decision to submit the article for publication.


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Dental restoration
  • Dentin
  • GL13K
  • Hydrophobic coating
  • Recurrent caries

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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