Nanodentistry: What Is It & How Is It Changing the Field of Dentistry?
Most people have never even heard of nanodentistry, but this innovative new technology is changing the field of dentistry as we know it. It may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but it’s very real – and it’s here to stay. Let’s take a closer look at this important advancement within the dental community.
What Is Nanodentistry?
You may have heard the term “nanotechnology” before; it refers to using minute machinery that is capable of manipulating matter on an extremely small scale. (The root “nano” comes from the Greek word for dwarf.) Nanodentistry is the application of such technology within the dental field. Using nanomaterials, nanorobots, and engineering, doctors and researchers have already made huge strides in dentistry. There are countless new dental products available, ranging from implants to oral hygiene products, that utilize nanodentistry. Nanotechnology is expected to change science, medicine, and dentistry forever.
Nanodentistry can be used to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral and dental diseases. It can also be used to relieve pain and preserve or improve dental health. For example, saliva exosomes-based diagnostics have made it possible for doctors to design biocompatible, antimicrobial dental implants – a revolutionary development in the field. Since every disease starts at the molecular level, it makes sense to attack it on that level.
Nanodentistry can be used to assemble virtually any product using atomic building blocks. The possibilities are endless, including nano-impressions, nanoceramics, and nanocomposites. Nanofillers are already being used to create a more precise impression of patients’ teeth and gums. Nanofillers have superior hydrophilic qualities, improved flow, and less spacing at dental margins when compared to traditional fillers. With regard to prosthodontics, nano-zirconia ceramic can be used in place of traditional ceramics for tougher, longer-lasting, corrosion-resistant dentures and crowns. Other applications that dental researchers are currently looking into include:
- Endodontic therapy
- Preventing dental caries
- Integration with dental implants
- Treating periodontal disease
- Screws for bone fixation
- Direct pulp-capping procedures
- Dentin regeneration
- Enhanced bone regeneration
- Producing artificial mucosa
Lastly, and perhaps most excitingly, nanodentistry can be utilized in the treatment of oral cancer. Small beads known as nanoshells produce heat through radiation and selectively destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. It sounds almost too good to be true, but it’s the reality of nanodentistry today.
How Is It Changing Dentistry?
Scientists are hopeful that nanodentistry will change the average person’s view of the dentist, which is often negative and full of fear and apprehension. Because it is done on such a small scale, nanodentistry encourages minimally invasive procedures. Scientists expect this to create a more dentist-friendly atmosphere over time. In addition, nanodentistry – and specifically the use of nanoparticles – allows for an unprecedented level of precision in diagnosing, treating, and preventing dental ailments. That means better outcomes for patients and their physicians. If this new type of technology continues to advance at the same rate, it is sure to preserve and improve human health as a whole.