Scientists have come up with a new method to reduce dental implant failure. Dental implants are a successful form of treatment for patients, yet according to a study published in 2005, five to 10 percent of all dental implants fail.
The reasons for this failure are several-fold - mechanical problems, poor connection to the bones in which they are implanted, infection or rejection. When failure occurs the dental implant must be removed. The main reason for dental implant failure is peri-implantitis. This is the destructive inflammatory process affecting the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants.
‘Current strategies to render the surface of dental implants antibacterial with the aim to prevent infection and peri-implantitis development, include application of antimicrobial coatings loaded with antibiotics or chlorhexidine.’
This occurs when pathogenic microbes in the mouth and oral cavity develop into biofilms, which protects them and encourages growth. Peri-implantitis is caused when the biofilms develop on dental implants. Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, have joined forces to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a new nanocoating for dental implants to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis. In the study, the team created a new approach using a combination of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings.
The application of the combination to the surface of titanium alloy implants successfully inhibited bacterial growth and reduced the formation of bacterial biofilm on the surface of the implants by 97.5 percent. Not only did the combination result in the effective eradication of infection, it created a surface with anti-biofilm properties which supported successful integration into surrounding bone and accelerated bone healing.
Researcher Christopher Tredwin commented: "In this cross-Faculty study we have identified the means to protect dental implants against the most common cause of their failure. The potential of our work for increased patient comfort and satisfaction, and reduced costs, is great and we look forward to translating our findings into clinical practice." He added: "Our work has been about proving these criteria which we have done in vitro. The next step would be to demonstrate the effectiveness of our discovery, perhaps with animal models and then human volunteers."
Lead author Dr Alexandros Besinis said: "Current strategies to render the surface of dental implants antibacterial with the aim to prevent infection and peri-implantitis development, include application of antimicrobial coatings loaded with antibiotics or chlorhexidine." "However, such approaches are usually effective only in the short-term, and the use of chlorhexidine has also been reported to be toxic to human cells.
The significance of our new study is that we have successfully applied a dual-layered silver-hydroxyapatite nanocoating to titanium alloy medical implants which helps to overcome these risks," he continued. The results are published in the journal Nanotoxicology.