A team of researchers has developed a new nanocoating for dental implants, to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis.
A group of research scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, teamed up to develop and evaluate the new technology.
Dental implants are a successful form of treatment for patients, yet according to a study published in 2005, 5-10% of all dental implants fail.
The main reason for dental implant failure is peri-implantitis, which is caused when the biofilms develop on dental implants.
‘Current strategies to render the surface of dental implants antibacterial with the aim to prevent infection and peri-implantitis development, include application of antimicrobial coatings loaded with antibiotics or chlorhexidine’, commented Dr Alexandros Besinis, lecturer in mechanical engineering at the School of Engineering, University of Plymouth, who led the research.
‘However, such approaches are usually effective only in the short term, and the use of chlorhexidine has also been reported to be toxic to human cells.
‘The significance of our new study is that we have successfully applied a dual-layered silver-hydroxyapatite nanocoating to titanium alloy medical implants which helps to overcome these risks.’
In the research study, the team created a new approach using a combination of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings.
The application of the combination to the surface of titanium alloy implants successfully inhibited bacterial growth and reduced the formation of bacterial biofilm on the surface of the implants by 97.5%.
Not only did the combination result in the effective eradication of infection, it created a surface with anti-biofilm properties, which supported successful integration into surrounding bone and accelerated bone healing.
‘In this cross-faculty study we have identified the means to protect dental implants against the most common cause of their failure’, said Professor Christopher Tredwin, head of Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry.
‘The potential of our work for increased patient comfort and satisfaction, and reduced costs, is great and we look forward to translating our findings into clinical practice.’
The results of their work are published in the journal, Nanotoxicology.
The University of Plymouth was the first university in the UK to secure Research Council Funding in Nanoscience and this project is the latest in a long line of projects investigating nanotechnology and human health.
Nanoscience activity at the University of Plymouth is led by Professor Richard Handy, who has represented the UK on matters relating to the Environmental Safety and Human Health of Nanomaterials at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
He commented: ‘As yet there are no nano-specific guidelines in dental or medical implant legislation and we are, with colleagues elsewhere, guiding the way in this area.
‘The EU recognises that medical devices and implants must perform as expected for its intended use, and be better than similar items in the market; be safe for the intended use or safer than an existing item; and be biocompatible or have negligible toxicity.
‘Our work has been about proving these criteria, which we have done in vitro.
‘The next step would be to demonstrate the effectiveness of our discovery, perhaps with animal models and then human volunteers.’
The study abstract can be found here.
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