Restorative dentistry is a huge business, with over 18 million Americans having a crown, bridge or dental implants to replace missing teeth. And according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), the number of implants increases annually by about 500,000. While dental implants are an effective treatment option, approximately 5 to 10% of all implants fail for a variety of reasons. But according to a recent Science Daily article, that number could soon be dramatically decreasing.
Whether a failed implant is caused by mechanical problems, poor connection to the bones, infection or rejection, the result is always the same: the implant must be removed. Technically, the main reason for dental implant failure is peri-implantitis, which is a destructive inflammatory process that affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding the implant. This happens when pathogenic microbes in the mouth and oral cavity develop into biofilms, encouraging growth. Peri-implantitis occurs when these biofilms develop on dental implants.
In an effort to combat this issue, a team of researchers from the University of Plymouth have developed and evaluated the effectiveness of a new nano-coating for implants to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis. The results, which were recently published in the journal Nanotoxicology, have shown great promise. As a part of their study, the team created a new approach using a combination of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings. The combination was then applied to the surface of titanium alloy implants with great results. The combination was successful in inhibiting bacterial growth and reduced the formation of bacterial biofilm on the surface of the implants by an impressive 97.5%. Additionally, the results also showed that the new surface with anti-biofilm properties supported successful integration into surrounding bone and actually accelerated bone healing.
“In the cross-Faculty study we have identified the means to protect dental implants against the most common cause of their failure. The potential of our work increased patient comfort and satisfaction, and reduced costs, is great and we look forward to translating our findings into clinical practice,” said professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry.