From our City Center dental Portland practice to the research labs of the leading oral health experts, the quest to find surfaces capable of preventing the growth of harmful oral bacteria promises to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in dentistry. Preventing bacterial growth is particularly important when it comes to dental implants, many of which fail due to the presence of harmful bacteria. Roughly 10 percent of implants need to be removed due to the onset of infections.
Creating a design has proved challenging due to the need to provide the surface of titanium implants with antibacterial properties while also considering the high level of resistance many strains of bacteria can develop to conventional antibiotics and therapies. This challenge was what researchers from the University of the Basque Country’s Department of Polymer Science and Technology had to face when attempting to develop an antibacterial coating for dental implants. “We had already obtained coatings that facilitate the generation of bone around the implant and thus facilitate anchoring to the bone. To go a step further, we looked at how to turn these coating into bactericides,” stated researchers.
Creating a More Resistant Dental Implant
To achieve their goal, researchers developed a method involving sol-gel synthesis. Sol-gel synthesis involves the preparation of a precursor solution that, when left to rest on its own, will transform into a gel that can be used to coat the surface of the titanium screws used in dental implants. Once applied, the gel is then heated at a high temperature until it hardens around the implant. Researchers used this particular method and compound because of how well it’s known to react with bone tissue.
As part of the study, researchers developed three different types of coatings depending the various types of antibacterial agents selected; each one had a mechanism to tackle bacterial infections, either prophylactically by preventing the bacteria from sticking to the dental implant; by preventing the development of a future infection; or by eliminating an infection once it began to develop.
What researchers used in the prophylactic coating was a material that could last a long time on the implant before beginning to break down, thereby preventing bacteria from being able to stick to the surface of the implant screw. As part of the coating designed to eliminate infectious bacteria once one developed, researchers needed a coating that degraded quickly so that it could release the antibacterial agent contained within as quickly as possible to attack the infection.
While researchers remain excited about these new breakthroughs, more research and time is needed before any of these types of coatings will be ready for use in our City Center dental Portland dental office or anywhere else. However, this type of breakthrough promises to open the door for a future where dental implants fail less frequently, and where patient health continues to improve post procedure.
Protecting Your Oral Health
Of course, the simplest way to avoid needing a fail proof dental implant is to take better care of your oral health now so it remains strong in the future. Daily brushing and flossing, combined with scheduling regular dental exams and checkups with Dr. Bajuscak, rank as the best practices for preventing dental disease and decay that leads to the need for a dental implant.
While the science continues to make dental implants and other oral health procedures safer and more reliable, you can take matters into your own hands by making your oral health a top priority now and into the future.