Research impact

In the School of Dentistry, our research has real impact on the lives of the wider public. We work to participate in research that makes a tangible difference in the field of dentistry, and improve dental healthcare as a whole.

Filling without drilling technology

Led by Professor Jennifer Kirkham, 'Filling without Drilling' SAP technology was co-invented and taken through to commercial partnership at the School of Dentistry, working with the University's Innovation Knowledge Centre in Medical Technologies.

SAPs are rationally designed to produce biomimetic scaffolds that are capable of nucleation of tooth mineral based upon knowledge of the role of proteins in enamel formation. Essentially, they allow patients to have a tooth filled with no need for invasive drilling.

Credentis ag now market a range of products based on Leeds' SAP technology as part of the Curodont ™ range.

Digitisation of dentistry workflows

The School of Dentistry’s Dr Andrew Keeling developed intellectual property in digital imaging which has been licensed to Arkive Dental Ltd, a company which specialises in the secure scanning, archiving and storage of digitized orthodontic casts.

Both orthodontists and general dentists are now able to digitally archive their study models and access them from anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. This reduces the need for physical storage space and prevents deterioration of the models over time.

Where physical models are still necessary, further work in digital dentistry at Leeds has involved liaising with 3D printer manufacturers to tailor machines specifically for printing high quality dental models. This means the archived digital dental models can easily be transformed back into physical models. They can then be printed at resolutions of up to 10 microns.

Our group has also directly advised on the British Orthodontic Society National Clinical Guidelines for the use of 3D study models in orthodontics.

Digital workflows in dentistry are likely to have a profound effect on the profession in terms of the way dentists diagnose disease, restore function and appearance and communicate with patients and other dental professionals. Digital imaging lies at the heart of this emerging discipline.

Cross-disciplinary solutions

The Schools of Dentistry and the Design at the University of Leeds have a long-standing academic collaboration between materials scientists and textile engineers with a common interest in the repair/regeneration of both hard and soft tissues. We aim ultimately to apply the knowledge gained by working together to the development of therapies for patient benefit.

To bring together complimentary expertise through the School's Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Group and the Clothworker's Centre for Innovation in Healthcare Materials in the School of Design. Together we been developing, modelling and applying a platform of tunable, versatile collagen hydrogels and non woven fabrics targeting the repair or regeneration of a variety of tissues.

We work closely with clinical colleagues to identify unmet or poorly-met clinical needs to develop bespoke solutions; we are currently working on applications as diverse as wound dressings, periodontal membranes, and drug delivery vehicles. 

Both groups also have a focus on translating this underpinning knowledge into products for clinical use. Funding has been obtained to carry out fundamental research to develop the technology platform, to take novel materials through to pre-clinical testing. Partners at material supply, manufacture and end-users have been engaged.

This collaboration has facilitated the training of several PhD students/Postdoctoral Research Assistants in a multidisciplinary way of working.