A new study has found that the dental implant that lets you drink from a tap could be the first one to use the same technique to make you drink a liquid that doesn’t contain anything, says a team led by Professor of Dentistry at the University of Manchester Dr Peter Higgs.
“Dental implants are very invasive, and it’s been a real challenge to get them to do the job,” Dr Higgs said.
“But we think we have found a new way of getting the implant to do what it needs to do.”
Dr Higgins group has been working on this project for several years.
They have developed a method that enables the implant (called an enamel microtome) to remove the water and nutrients that are used to create a liquid from the mouth, and also allows the implant and the liquid to interact.
The process can be carried out in a single day, using a specially developed method called a microtoxin-free microporous electrode, or micropore.
“What we are looking for is a new technique for removing water and other contaminants that are present in dental implants, and that’s why we’re using a micropores,” Dr Bessie Cuthbertson, who is also an assistant professor at the university, said.
The microtores are coated with an aqueous polymer (which has been shown to be a strong antibacterial) to make it resistant to a variety of bacteria and viruses.
“We have shown that these microporings have antibacterial properties, and they are extremely effective against most bacteria,” she said.
Dr Hoggins team found that this process works very well, removing almost all the contaminants in the dental cavity.
“The microtore technology is one of the most novel methods for removing contaminants from dental implants that we’ve ever seen,” he said.
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE in January showed that micropored enamel implants are safe to use for up to three years.
The new method of removing contaminants was able to reduce the number of contaminants in dental implant implants by more than 90 per cent.
The technique could be a promising replacement for dental implants in some countries, and Dr Haggins said he hoped the research would eventually make it into dental implants everywhere.
“It will be really interesting to see if this works in a whole range of countries, especially if there’s an increase in dental malpractice in these countries,” he added.
The research was funded by the Medical Research Council, the UK Medical Research Agency, the Australian Government and the European Union.
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