3M Co. licenses technology from CU

BOULDER – The University of Colorado-Boulder announced Friday it has licensed technology to 3M Co. that promises to improve the performance of materials used in dental fillings and sealants, dentures and dental implants.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The advanced polymer technology was developed by a team led by professor Christopher Bowman at CU-Boulder.

Current dental restoration methods use light-cured polymer materials fitted by a dentist or oral surgeon. Eventually, the internal stresses built up within the material by the curing process cause it to shrink, which decreases the effectiveness and durability of the restoration, according to a CU press statement.

For instance, as the material within a dental filling shrinks, the seal binding the filling to the tooth surface is compromised, and recurrent decay may occur beneath the fillings; this can cause serious damage to patients’ gums and teeth damage until repaired.

The process pioneered by Bowman uses a light-cured material that reduces the physical stress within dental composites, avoiding shrinkage and other physical changes in the restoration. Dental restorations using this new composition will prove more durable, require fewer replacements, and improve patient comfort and dental health.

MaryBeth Vellequette, a licensing manager at CU’s Technology Transfer Office, believes the technology will present St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M (NYSE: MMM) opportunities for product development not only in dental applications but in any product category that would benefit from reduced polymer shrinkage.

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