Injectable Nanoparticles and Nanotechnology 101
Within the field of dental research, injectable nanoparticles are what you might call a “hot topic.” Dental professionals and researchers see them as potentially game-changing for dentistry as a whole. Why? Because these tiny particles may soon be injected into teeth during routine dental visits to protect patients from tooth decay.
Nanoparticles in Dentistry
Researchers are now working on superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) that can penetrate human molars using an external magnetic field. Within the next five years, these minute particles may be used to carry drugs that are magnetically guided inside teeth to prevent tooth decay. Injectable nanoparticles like SPIONs break up plaque and prevent cavities by killing decay-causing bacteria within the teeth.
While this technology is still largely in the research phase, many dentists are excited at the prospect of preventing tooth decay before it strikes. This capability may revolutionize the way that dentists manage their patients’ dental health.
Nanotechnology in Dentistry
Nanotechnology refers broadly to the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Although nanoparticles are one of the most promising advancements within nanotechnology, they are far from the only one. Nanotechnology is already bringing about rapid changes in dentistry and medicine.
Nanotechnology is often talked about in the context of nanomaterial-based design, which mimics the properties of natural tissue and promotes biointegration. Nanomaterials are used in dental fillings, polish, implant materials, toothpaste, and other rinsing solutions. They tend to be more effective than conventional materials, acting as an antimicrobial agent to prevent bacterial growth. Nanomaterials make dentistry less intimidating to patients because they save time, money, and mental distress.
Nanorobots are another exciting development within this field. Researchers are finding ways to employ nanorobots in the destruction of caries-causing bacteria and the repair of tooth decay, using a computer to direct these tiny robo-dentists in their tasks. Nano-implantable devices are used in a variety of medical and dental applications, from tissue regeneration to implant coating to diagnostic and therapeutic aids.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Dentistry
Dental researchers are still finding new ways to put nanotechnology into practice. There are already many existing applications, including:
- Dentition renaturalization
- Therapy for dentin hypersensitivity
- Complete orthodontic realignment in a single visit
- Covalently bonding diamondized enamel
- Enhancing properties of root canal sealers
- Continuous oral health maintenance using mechanical dentifrobots
Thanks to nanodentistry, many oral diseases can be caught and prevented early, or treated at the first signs. This technology allows for more accurate diagnosis and therefore better oral health overall. It has the added benefit of using fewer natural resources and reducing environmental pollution.
Nanotechnology has the potential to change dentistry and oral health as we know it, benefiting dentists, their patients, and all of humankind. Much of this potential has not yet been realized, but shows great promise in the research and development stage. We are already seeing how nanoparticles and nanotechnology can be put into practice to improve patient outcomes.