Using nanotechnology to ward off tooth bacteria
More and more people are opting for implants as dentures: with nanotechnology, researchers in Karlsruhe want to make the artificial teeth even better.
Berlin: The trend is towards the implanted gap filler: Despite comparatively high costs, patients are increasingly choosing implants as dental prostheses. According to the German Society for Implantology (DGI), more than one million people a year can be supplied with a dental implant in Germany – with an upward trend.
In fact, implants have many advantages: They sit firmly in the jaw and therefore can not slip like a removable denture. They are resilient, usually well tolerated and feel in the mouth after a short period of habituation just like natural teeth. In addition, they prevent bone loss in the jaw, which always threatens tooth loss.
But like any procedure, dental implants are not without risk. This allows bacteria to settle in the wound area and cause inflammation. In the worst case threatens the degradation of bone in the jaw right up to the loss of the implant.
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The main gateway for bacteria is the so-called abutment, ie the connecting piece between the screw anchored as root replacement in the jaw and the visible tooth crown. At this part of the implant, the gums may not grow properly. As a result, pockets can form over which bacteria reach the jawbone.
Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a method to make this vulnerability less vulnerable. To do this, they use what is known as an electron-beam recorder, with which the tiniest structures can be transferred to a medium in order to cover the surface of the abutment with the finest columns.
The structures, which are only 500 nanometers high, make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the implant and form a particularly stubborn colony, a so-called biofilm. At the same time, the structures control the growth of the cells in the area of the wound in such a way that the gum tightens the implant more closely, thus closing the gateway permanently.
“We believe that this structural approach is forward-looking,” says KIT researcher Patrick Doll. All the more so, as the technique is likely to be transferable to areas outside of dentistry, bone implants, for example, or artificial joints. Before that, however, the procedure, which has so far only been tested in the laboratory, has yet to prove its worth in clinical trials.