The technology isn’t fully there yet, but the future of dental implants looks quite promising thanks to a research team on the other side of the world, at the University of Groningen, located in the Netherlands. Researchers there are developing a tooth made of antimicrobial plastic which destroys the bacteria which cause tooth decay. The tooth will be printable on a 3D printer.
Dental Implants Research
The research team started out with dental resin polymers that are already in existence. They then embedded antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts into the polymers. Bacterial damage to tooth implants has been a problem in the dental industry; this format could eradicate it.
The salts embedded within the 3D-printed teeth use opposing positive and negative charges to make bacteria die due to bursting of the cellular membranes. While the salts kill microorganisms, they aren’t harmful to us. The research team coated the new teeth in tooth decaying bacteria for a period of six days. When they measured the bacteria, they found that the teeth had killed 99% of the bacteria in six days. To learn more, call our Bassendean dentists today on (08) 9279 7956.
While the study is cause for optimism, 3D antibacterial tooth implants could be a long way from the marketplace. Dr Andreas Hermann, who is leading the research, says there is still a lot of research to do, such as exposing them to bacteria long term and assessing their compatibility with toothpaste.
Currently, the teeth are printed by a 3D printer. After they are printed, they are subjected to ultra-violet light, which hardens the materials to the degree necessary for a tooth. They will need to be subjected to longer trials assessing their ability to stand up to daily wear and tear while continuing to fight bacteria.
What it Means for Dental Implants
Inventions like these can take years to go to market and be approved by dental authorities such as the Australian Dental Association. The research sounds promising, but there is a long way to go before a finished product is available that is safe enough to gain approval by the Australian Dental Association.