It may be strange to think that a precious jewel can aid in the field of dentistry. Researchers at UCLA have been looking into diamonds and if they do have a place in creating better dental implants for patients. These researchers are focusing on nanodiamonds, which are made through conventional mining and refining operations and are definitely called “nano” for a reason; they come out to be approximately four to five nanometers in diameters, resembling miniature soccer balls. The UCLA researchers enlisted the help of the UCLA School of Dentistry, the UCLA Department of Bioengineering, Northwestern University, and even the NanoCarbon Research Institute in Japan to help come up with innovative ways to implement these nanodiamonds in dentistry. Their research has led them to believe that these nanodiamonds can improve bone growth and has the potential to counteract osteonecrosis, a disease marked by bone breakdown due to reduce blood flow.
Osteonecrosis can affect various parts of the body, but when this disease affects the joints in the jaw, it can keep people from eating and speaking properly, even restricting or impeding movement. What makes matters worse is that when osteonecrosis occurs near implants, including teeth or prosthetic joints, these implants loosen and can eventually fall out. These dental implant failures lead to additional procedures, which can not only be painful, but can also become very expensive.
These issues surrounding dental implants led the team at UCLA to conduct a study that would reveal whether nanodiamonds would be a viable solution. Conducted by Dr. Dean Ho, a professor of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, and his team used the nonadiamonds to deliver proteins responsible for bone growth. Their results indicated that nanodiamonds have the uncanny ability to bind rapidly the essential proteins and growth factors. The surface properties of these diamonds allow for a slower delivery of these proteins, which researchers believe contribute to a longer period of treatment of the affected area in the oral cavity. What’s more is that these nanodiamonds can be inserted in to patients in a non-invasive way, through either an injection or an oral rinsing.
Nanodiamonds are not only the technology that researchers are pursuing to improve. On the other side of the world, researchers in Japan and China have been revisiting the essential components of titanium, which contains alloys that are very commonly used in orthopedic implants. Because of its reliable mechanical and chemical properties, along with its biocompatible and corrosion resistant nature, titanium has been the go-to product to use in dental implant procedures. However, one of the drawbacks that titanium faces is its lack of ability to bond directly to living bone. Researchers have found that calcium phosphate (CaP) and collagen are main components of natural bone; these scientists believe that a composite of both of these components can be used to effectively coat titanium implants. The study they published in the journal of Science and Technology of Advanced Material showed that when titanium implants were coated with CaP gel and inserted into the thigh bone of rabbit, within four and eight weeks, the authors noticed that there was significantly more new bone on the surface of the titanium implants that had been covered with the CaP gel. These coated implants were also able to bond directly to the bone, without needing an intervening soft tissue layer. The researchers believe that this innovative CaP and collagen composite can play an important role in improving dental implants.
Both results found for nanodiamonds and titanium prove to be exciting news in field of Periodonistry and even in the medical world as a whole. These nanodiamonds may possibly revolutionize dental implants, allowing them to be longer lasting and effective, while this the new CaP and collagen coating and greatly improve the use of titanium. Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or email@example.com
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