Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace missing or damaged teeth. Millions of patients have undergone the procedure, but are often unable to chew food until the implant becomes fixated to the bone, which can take up to six months. This time period may be shortening, according to the Medical News Today article, “New Method For Stronger Dental Implant.” Recently, a drug coating has been tested and found to allow titanium screws to adhere to the bone both stronger and faster than previous techniques.
The coating was developed at the Linköping University in Sweden, by a team led by a professor of orthopedic surgery, Per Aspenberg. Through the use of animal studies, the coating, consisting of an extremely thin layer of protein with a drug normally used to treat osteoporosis attached; the bone surrounding the implant is able to become denser and stronger more rapidly. Recently, the new method was tested on 16 human patients, who each received two new implants, one traditional, and one treated with the coating described previously. After six months, the implants were observed and it was found that 15 out of the 16 new implants had created noticeably better attachments, and no complications were present. Per Aspenberg claims that this is the first time anyone was able to use localized medication to reinforce the bone around an implant. Patients and dentists alike will no doubt get excited about this new technological advancement.