Continuing cariogenic bacterial growth demineralizing dentine beneath a composite filling is the most common cause of tooth restoration failure. Novel composites with antibacterial polylysine (PLS) (0, 4, 6, or 8 wt%) in its filler phase were therefore produced. Remineralising monocalcium phosphate was also included at double the PLS weight. Antibacterial studies involved set composite disc placement in 1% sucrose-supplemented broth containing Streptococcus mutans
(UA159). Relative surface bacterial biofilm mass (n
= 4) after 24 h was determined by crystal violet-binding. Live/dead bacteria and biofilm thickness (n
= 3) were assessed using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). To understand results and model possible in vivo benefits, cumulative PLS release from discs into water (n
= 3) was determined by a ninhydrin assay. Results showed biofilm mass and thickness decreased linearly by 28% and 33%, respectively, upon increasing PLS from 0% to 8%. With 4, 6, and 8 wt% PLS, respectively, biofilm dead bacterial percentages and PLS release at 24 h were 20%, 60%, and 80% and 85, 163, and 241 μg/disc. Furthermore, initial PLS release was proportional to the square root of time and levelled after 1, 2, and 3 months at 13%, 28%, and 42%. This suggested diffusion controlled release from water-exposed composite surface layers of 65, 140, and 210 μm thickness, respectively. In conclusion, increasing PLS release initially in any gaps under the restoration to kill residual bacteria or longer-term following composite/tooth interface damage might help prevent recurrent caries.
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