Using eggshell for the development of a quality alternative material to pumice in reducing the surface roughness of heat-cured acrylic resins.
Onwubu, Stanley Chibuzor
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Pumice is used in the polishing of dental appliances to remove surface irregularities. It is usually used in a slurry form that is pumice powder mixed with water. In Nigeria, the increased cost of pumice as a result of its limited supply into the country has encouraged dental technicians to re-use pumice slurry for longer periods than advocated when polishing acrylic dentures, whether new or old dentures which have been worn in the mouth. Consequently, this is likely to increase cross-infection of communicable diseases in the dental technology laboratory. Although materials such as white sand, black sand and porcelnite can be used, literature documents that these materials are less effective in the polishing of acrylic dentures (Areeg 2011). The focus of this study was to use eggshells, a natural waste product, to develop and test the quality of an alternative material to reduce the surface roughness of heat-cured acrylic resins. A quantitative research paradigm and an experimental research strategy were adopted. The research design included two phases. In phase one of this study, different characterisation techniques such as Brunnae-Emmer Teller (BET); Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR); X-ray Diffraction (XRD); Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM); Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM); Laser Scattering Particle Size Distribution Analyser (PSA); Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA); and Induction-Coupling-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) were used to assess the suitability of the new abrasive material (NAM). In addition, the level of microbial contamination of the NAM was assessed in line with the specified microbial limits for cosmetic products. In contrast, phase two investigated the product-based quality of the NAM as an abrasive material for removable dental appliances. There were two sample groups, that is, the NAM (test group) and Pumice (control), and each sample group had 50 PMMA acrylic specimens. The surface roughness (Ra) was measured using a Talysurf profilometer. An Independent Tukey test was used to analyse the Ra values (p=0.05). A Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Optical Microscope (OEM) were further used to support the results of the profilometer in terms of the quality of surface finish and polish. Validity of the study was achieved following the ISO 20795-1 (2013) methods of preparation and fabrication of the acrylic specimens. The reliability was determined via reproducibility and repeatability of tests. The BET analysis showed that the NAM is predominantly a mesoporous powder. The FTIR and XRD analyses confirmed that the NAM is pure calcite with unique water absorbing characteristics, and is free of bacteria. The EDX and ICP-OES analyses revealed calcium, oxygen and carbon as the major elemental composition of the NAM. The SEM and TEM images revealed irregular shaped particles in the NAM. The PSA analysis of the particle distribution showed the NAM to be superfine (50nm to 0.3µm) and medium (44µm powder), respectively. The TGA analysis revealed a high-grade carbonate product in the NAM (>66.0 mass% of calcium carbonates). In addition, and in terms of in the qualities of the NAM in reducing the surface roughness of PMMA resins, the test group and the control group produced Ra values that were significant different (p<0.0001). The SEM and OEM analyses further confirmed the differences in the surfaces between the polished sample groups at different magnifications. Overall, the control showed the highest mean average (0.1056±0.03688µm), whereas the test group had the lowest Ra values (0.0476±0.01379). The lowest Ra values measured with the test group indicated that the NAM improves the surface smoothness of PMMA acrylic specimens. Notably, this study conclusively showed that the NAM effectively reduces the surface roughness to below the threshold limit value of 0.2µm. Significantly, and in associating the Ra values to the threshold limit value of 0.2µm, the NAM produced better results than pumice. Hence the use of the NAM as a polishing material for acrylic dentures is highly recommended. Finally and in line the NAM being a suitable alternative to pumice as it effectively reduces the surface roughness of PMMA specimens, future investigation into the use of eggshell nanoparticles to develop dental prophylaxes will be encouraged.