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DUT produces first doctorate in dental technology in SA

DUT produces first doctorate in dental technology in SA


Andre Le Roux will make history by being the first candidate to receive a Doctorate degree in Dental Technology profession in South Africa. He will graduate from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) during the Spring Graduation Ceremony on 18 September 2008. The ceremony will take place at Fred Crookes Sport Centre on Steve Biko campus at 10h30 AM.

Le Roux, who lectures in Dental Sciences at DUT, successfully conducted a study entitled: ADESIGN AND EVALUATION OF ALUMINA/FELDSPAR RESIN INFILTRATED DENTAL COMPOSITE MATERIALS@. The aim of this study was to provide further improvements to dental composite materials by reducing the reliance on a deteriorating substance and incorporating a mineral chemical bond between the ceramic filler particles. This type of chemical bonding in a resin based composite, says Le Roux, has not been introduced before as a means to improve the wear resistance and reduce flexibility. Le Roux says there has been a move towards dental composite restorations in certain communities as an alternative to mercury containing silver colored fillings because of the environmental and health results from mercury contamination and toxicity. He adds that many people don=t approve of these fillings because there have been scientific reports that they have potential harm in pregnancy, characteristic skin rashes, and as a neurotoxin. AControversy surrounding dental combination of amalgam fillings has resulted in increased replacement with composite materials. The extensive use of dental composites has resulted in a need to further improve wear and durability of dental composite restorations,@ explains Le Roux.

Le Roux believes that every profession has a scientific contribution to make within their lines of experience and expertise, adding that he is thankful for the support and opportunities that have become available in Dental Technology for students to contribute to the body of science. AMany great scientific discoveries and improvement have started with something small that has been built on. What we have today is built on what we had yesterday and we need to direct the next generation to use the research opportunities that are now presented in a responsible manner to the benefit of their children,@ comments Le Roux.

Besides having been involved in the design and evaluation of dental restorative materials, he also has an interest in educating the public regarding choices in dental materials. According to the literature he read for his study in dental technology, he advises that it is apparent that dental practitioners and patients may not have an adequate research base to know what is the safest, most durable dental restorative material available in order to make the best possible choices. An academic of note he has been writing some articles in order to publish the results and increase the scientific knowledge base in dental materials. He has also been involved in supervising two Masters students in Dental Technology this year.

At the community engagement level Le Roux has mostly been involved with promoting research at the DUT. Together with his family he regularly visits the Cheshire homes for the physically challenged to help those with multiple sclerosis (MS). He says that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the link with mercury in MS, adding that he is yet to find a MS sufferer that has not been subjected to mercury or any other nerve toxin. He is a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences Research Committee since 2007. This year he has also been involved as the personal ministries leader for Christ in his church.

For comment, please contact Andre Le Roux on:031 373 2051 or 031 373 2044.