Nanoparticles are ultra-small units of material that are larger than 0.001 micrometer and tinier than around 0.1 micrometer. Science-fiction fans and Hollywood script writers have envisioned all sorts of mysterious and potentially evil uses for nanoparticles in the future, but the reality is that researchers have found amazing uses for them today.
3 of the most interesting developments in nanoparticles will revolutionize orthodontics.
1) There's a new non-invasive way to reduce the time you must wear braces.
Orthodontists have developed an invasive procedure to reduce the time that their patients must wear braces. This technique involves making incisions into the gums and slicing the collagen fibers that firmly hold teeth in place. This allows the teeth to more easily conform to their new shape.
Researchers in Israel have found a way to perform the same technique using nanoparticles rather than scalpels. They have created a cream that uses nanoparticles mixed with collagenase, which is a naturally-occurring enzyme that breaks down collagen without destroying surrounding tissue.
This new development will hopefully lead to less pain and infection when undergoing the collagen-severing treatment.
2) Nanosheets in dental implants may prevent tooth decay.
Bacteria cause most tooth decay, but with so many antibiotic-resistant germs out there, that bacteria can be difficult to kill. Nanosheets are coming to the rescue.
Researchers have discovered that graphene oxide is one material that can fight bacterial growth. Graphene oxide is a nanosheet, infused with oxygen particles, that breaks down the cell walls and membranes of 3 of the bacteria known to cause cavities.
The studies are promising, and will hopefully lead to the nanosheets being used in dental implants and other orthodontic materials, reducing the likelihood that orthodontic patients will suffer from tooth decay.
3) Nanoparticles fight tooth decay in another way.
Another key development in fighting tooth decay is the use of specialized nanoparticles to deliver antibiotic agents. When patients use traditional mouth rinses and other topical treatments containing antibiotics to target harmful dental bacteria, their saliva often rinses the antibiotic agents away before they have a chance to fight germs.
Researchers at a Pennsylvania university have created a nano "cream" that is not washed away by saliva. Due to its unique properties, this anti-bacterial dental cream stays on the teeth longer to attack plaque and bacteria that lead to tooth decay. This should lead to more effective daily oral hygiene after receiving implants or braces.
Studies in rats have shown a significant reduction in the formation of cavities, and in their severity, when the nano cream was used. Traditional mouth rinses using the same antibiotics didn't reduce tooth decay, and only slightly reduced the severity of cavities. Contact Arapahoe Orthodontics P.C. for more information.