The complications and high costs associated with dental implants could be a thing of the past as Griffith research aims to reduce the associated risks of infection using new cutting edge nanotechnology.
The study is being led by post-doctoral researcher Dr Karan Gulati from the university’s School of Dentistry and Oral Health/Menzies Health Institute Queensland, who is presenting his research at this week’s Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise (Dec 1-2).
Hundreds of thousands of Australians need dental implants each year but the risks of infection and poor stability can be high, particularly if the patient has a condition such as osteoporosis or diabetes, which may compromise the dental healing process.
However early stage nanotechnology techniques in animal studies are now showing promise in allowing faster integration of an implant in order to prevent bacteria from setting in.
Nanotechnology is science, engineering and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.
“The technology I am using enables me to nano-engineer the surface of commercially established implants with nanotubes, which can later be loaded with drugs such as antibiotics or proteins for maximised therapeutic effect.”
“When these are inserted into the patient’s jaw, they improve soft- (gingiva) and hard-tissue (bone) integration and therefore dramatically decrease the likelihood of oral microbes being able to enter the tissue,” says Dr Gulati. “Based on the initial results, we expect to achieve early implant stability and long-term success of such therapeutic dental implants”
“In addition, the overall costs to the patient are expected to be reduced, considering that there will be no expenses associated with follow up drug treatment, cleaning of possible bacterial attachment or correction of implant failure”
The ground-breaking work is still in the very early stages, however clinical trials are planned to commence in 2017. Dr Gulati says this implant technology can easily be extended to orthopaedic implants.