Decay, gum disease, and injury are the reasons more than 3 million Americans have dental implants. They are designed to last roughly 20 years, but they often fall short, needing replacement in the 5-10 year range. A recent MedicalXpress article discussed a new high-tech dental implant that aims to fix these issues. A team of engineers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine developed an implant that has two novel technologies.
The first is a biofilm material infused with nanoparticles that resist bacterial colonization, and the other is an embedded light source for phototherapy. The latter is powered by the mouth’s natural motions like chewing or brushing teeth, and it promotes health of the surrounding gum tissue. The technology earned the team a finalist position in the Science Center’s research accelerator program, which links them with commercialization experts and a chance to receive $200,000 in funding. Now if they could just develop a tooth that brushes and flosses itself, we might be able to avoid the dentist altogether.