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New nanotube surface promises dental implants that heal faster and fight infection

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Posted September 24, 2013
A brighter, better, longer-lasting dental implant may soon be on its way to your dentist’s office.
Smile!
This shows a forest of titanium dioxide nanotubes etched into metallic titanium. The surface holds promise for improving the longevity of dental implants. Credit: Tolou Shokuhfar
 

Dental implants are posts, usually made of titanium, that are surgically placed into the jawbone and topped with artificial teeth. More than dentures or bridges, implants mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. While most dental implants are successful, a small percentage fail and either fall out or must be removed. A scientist at Michigan Technological University wants to lower that rate to zero using nanotechnology.

“Dental implants can greatly improve the lives of people who need them,” said Tolou Shokuhfar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “But there are two main issues that concern dentists: infection and separation from the bone.”

The mouth is a dirty place, so bacterial infections are a risk after implant surgery, and sometimes bone fails to heal securely around the device. Because jawbones are somewhat thin and delicate, replacing a failed implant can be difficult, not to mention expensive. Generally, dentists charge between $2,000 and $4,000 to install a single implant, and the procedure is rarely covered by insurance.

Enter a nano-material that can battle infection, improve healing, and help dental implants last a lifetime: titanium dioxide nanotubes.

 

Read more at: Phys.org

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