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Tuesday / November 19.

Nanoscientists Create Bacteria-Busting Dental Implants

Nanotechnology is opening new avenues of growth in the medical sector, especially implantology.

Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), along with dental implant experts, have developed a nanostructured surface to speed up wound healing after implantation. It also protects the wound from bacteria.

“Microtechnology can sustainably improve dental implants,” said Professor Andreas Guber and Dr. Ralf Ahrens, who head the Biomedical Microtechnology (BioMEMS) research group at KIT’s Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT).

The new surface eliminates the problem of inflammation, which can occur even after a successful implantation.

A dental implant consists of a titanium screw that replaces the dental root, a connected abutment made of titanium for tooth replacement, and a visible dental crown. Bacteria can enter the jawbone through pockets that form when the gum is not in perfect contact with the abutment.

The scientists have found a solution to this problem. Their Abutments4Life technology added grooves smaller than a width of hair to circulate the abutment. This guides the cells responsible for healing in the right direction and accelerates healing.

Patrick Doll, a scientist at IMT said the development of the system depends on two aspects: accurate structuring of the grooves to guide the cells better and finding the perfect nanosurface that doesn’t let bacteria attach to it.

Dr. Doll used the electron-beam lithography system to make a columnar structure of 100 nanometers in width and 500 nanometers in height. He then tested each structure with test bacteria such as S. aureus, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa.

The results showed that bacteria attachment reduced and the formation of a biofilm was delayed, depending on the distance and arrangement of the columns.

“We think that our structural approach is very promising,” said Dr. Doll. After the first phase in the lab, the team will conduct pre-clinical trials soon. The technology can also be used in bone plates, hearing implants, and artificial joints, among other potential uses.

News source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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