Harnessing biomolecules for bioinspired dental biomaterials

Nicholas G. Fischer, Eliseu A. Münchow, Candan Tamerler, Marco C. Bottino, Conrado Aparicio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Dental clinicians have relied for centuries on traditional dental materials (polymers, ceramics, metals, and composites) to restore oral health and function to patients. Clinical outcomes for many crucial dental therapies remain poor despite many decades of intense research on these materials. Recent attention has been paid to biomolecules as a chassis for engineered preventive, restorative, and regenerative approaches in dentistry. Indeed, biomolecules represent a uniquely versatile and precise tool to enable the design and development of bioinspired multifunctional dental materials to spur advancements in dentistry. In this review, we survey the range of biomolecules that have been used across dental biomaterials. Our particular focus is on the key biological activity imparted by each biomolecule toward prevention of dental and oral diseases as well as restoration of oral health. Additional emphasis is placed on the structure-function relationships between biomolecules and their biological activity, the unique challenges of each clinical condition, limitations of conventional therapies, and the advantages of each class of biomolecule for said challenge. Biomaterials for bone regeneration are not reviewed as numerous existing reviews on the topic have been recently published. We conclude our narrative review with an outlook on the future of biomolecules in dental biomaterials and potential avenues of innovation for biomaterial-based patient oral care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8713-8747
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number38
StatePublished - Oct 14 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Jiahe He for proofreading. Figures were partially created with BioRender. This study was supported by the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers R01DE026117 to C. A.; R01DE026578 and K08DE023552 to M. C. B.; R01DE025476 to C. T.; T90DE0227232 and F30DE029105 to N. G. F). N. G. F. acknowledges a 3M Science and Technology Fellowship. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2020.


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