Researchers have developed intelligent dental implants that protect against bacteria with nanoparticles and generate electricity.
Modern dental implants designed for 20 years or more can fail in 5-10 years due to inflammation or gum disease, then the complex and expensive operation will have to be repeated.
The authors of the new work wanted to solve this problem with the help of modern smart implants. According to the researchers, their development implements two technologies: the first, a material with nanoparticles that is invulnerable to bacteria, and the second, an integrated light source for phototherapy: it is energized by natural mouth movements, such as chewing or brushing teeth.
The researchers studied the material – barium titanate – it has piezoelectric properties that are used in capacitors and transistors. To test its potential, the authors used discs with barium titanate nanoparticles and coated them with Streptococcus mutans, the main component of the bacterial biofilm that causes tooth decay or, in other words, plaque.
They found that the discs were resistant to plaque build-up, best achieved with samples with higher barium titanate concentrations.
The electrical properties of the material were retained, and it did not leach out during the tests. The material was also mechanically strong, similar to other compounds used in dentistry. In addition, it did not damage the gum tissue and was safe for the human body.
The authors of the work plan to improve their development so that it can be applied in dentistry.