One of the many miracles of modern dentistry is the use of dental implants to replace teeth lost to injury or disease. These permanent replacements get colonized by the body’s own cells, incorporating them into the patients’ jaws. The problem is that sometimes bacteria are present, which can lead to an infection that ultimately can damage the healthy bone.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials in Bremen, Germany, have come up with a coating for dental implants that may solve this problem. The coating is made up of three layers: two plastic layers separated by a thin coating of silver nanoparticles. The outer coating is textured in a way that encourages healthy cell growth. It is also porous, which allows anti-microbial silver ions to be released over a period of time as the silver dissolves naturally. As a result, bacterial growth is inhibited and the chances of a successful implant are improved.
This new technology has the potential to make dental implants more reliable with reduced complications, which could benefit the millions of patients who receive dental implants every year.