NANOTECHNOLOGY IN DENTISTRY
Prof Dr Vinayak
What made me write this article...
As a specialist,i have learned to listen more and talk less, when patients tell their woes and experiences..most of them are truly heart wrenching.
It is therefore, a ray of sunlight, when patients offer enlightening solutions with sentences that start with" Doc,someone should develop something like so and so...".
This made me ,many times ,go back to the reading journals and research articles so as to keep up to date with the new gizmos and technology that may soon enter the field of dentistry.
I was surprised to see that many of these imaginative thoughts proclaimed by my patients are already in research and few have already come into the market....
After all, science fiction authors like Carl Segan and Arthur hailey wrote fiction books that is now days being played everyday in front of our eyes...Many of my patients thoughts are already being addressed by research and i am just writing a small glimpse of the future in dentistry.
I would like to point out that many of these things are still prediction and theoretical based at present....but, i am sure, that the future holds in store a pain free era of dentistry in which many painful surgical procedure will be performed using devices based on nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology also known as molecular nanotechnology or molecular engineering is production of functional materials and structures in range of 0.1 to 100 nanometeres.
The field of nanotechnology has tremendous potential, which if harnessed efficiently, can bring out significant benefits in the medical field such leading to improved healthcare of all patients.
Numerous theoretical predictions have been made based on the potential applications of nanotechnology in dentistry.
The term Nano technology was coined by Prof. Kerie E Drexler.
Nano is derived from vaos( Greek for dwarf )
In 1959 , Richard P Feyman called it as an unavoidable development in progress of science
Growing interest in future medical application of nanotechnology is leading to the emergence of new field called Nanomedicine.
Nanomedicine in dentistry...the future....
Emerging technologies and new nano scale information have the potential to transform dental practice by advancing all aspects of
dental surgery and cosmetic dentistry
into a new paradigm of state-of-the-art patient care beyond traditional oral care methods and procedures.
These new potential treatment opportunities in dentistry may include 2 approaches...
A.. a bottom up approach and
B..a bottom down approach.
A.The bottom up approaches are:
1. Local anaesthesia:-We are all aware that all patients hate the sight and use of injections for giving anaesthesia.
So, here is the future......
a suspension containing millions of active analgesic micron size dental robot will be placed onto the patients gum. These a nanorobots reach the pulp where these robots may be commanded by dentist to shut down all sensitivity in any particular tooth that requires treatment.
After oral procedure is completed , dentist orders the nano robots to egress from tooth by similar pathways used to ingress.
2. Hypersensivity cure:-
One of the most irritating feel for the patients is sensitivity in teeth. Tooth hypersensitivity is caused by changes in pressure transmitted hydrodynamically to pulp( tooth nerves).
Dental nanorobots can be used to occlude selected tubule in minutes, thus offering patients a quick and permanent cure.
3. Nanorobotic dentifrices based on dentirobots:-
We brush and then it lingers in the back of our minds...how long will the effect last.
Patients usually ask me to recommend a tooth paste that gives me protection for the whole day but we are aware that such a thing is not possible for throughout the day teeth cleaning.
Here is the future....
nanorobotics delivered by mouthwash or toothpaste could patrol all gum and teeth surfaces at least once a day, metabolising trapped food matter into harmless and odourless vapours and performing continuous cleaning..
Toothpaste containing patented nano-technology called Nanoxyd has proven useful to freshen breathe as well as whiten your teeth
.4. Dental durability and cosmetics:- " Doc, how long will this filling last. In the last nearly 2 decades as a clinician, i have heard this sentence repeatedly.
Here is the future...
Nanofilled materials; Tooth durability and appearance may be improved by replacing upper enamel layers with pure sapphire and diamond which can be made more fracture resistant as they will be embedded with carbon nanotubes.
5. Orthodontic/Braces treatment:-
"Doc,how many months will my braces treatment last. What...did you say 2 years."
Here, is the future...
Orthodontic nanorobots could directly manipulate the gum tissues allowing rapid and painless tooth straightening and rotating in a few days.
6. Diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer:-
Nanorobotics may prove to beextremely useful for diagnosis of
1. oral cancer
2 detecting diabetes.
3. Parkinson disease,
4 Alzheimer disease, and
5 brain tumour
Nano electro mechanical system (NEMS) which can convert biochemical to electrical signal technology, can be used for detection of different types of bacteria, viruses and altered DNA structure.
Top-Down Approaches include:
1. Nanocomposites:- These are the long, long lasting filling materials.
These contain a material called Nanocomposites that has been successfully manufactured using discrete nano particles .At our SMILESSENCE SPECIALIST DENTAL CENTRE, we have been using them for last few years and the results have been excellent.
Commercially available as Filtek O Supreme Universal Restorative Pure Nano O.2 and is an excellent filling material for your teeth.
2. Impression materials:- Nanofillers are used in impression materials for taking impression of your upper and lower jaws.
These,have better flow and enhanced patients jaw details.
Commercially available as Nanotech Elite H-D
3.. Nanoencapsulation:- Nanomaterials, have been widely explored for controlled drug release.
Some US based research institute has developed vaccines,antibiotics and drug delivery systems with reduced side effects.
4. Nanoneedles:- Suture needles incorporating nano sized stainless steel crystals have been developed.I have found them to be very effective ,specially after minor oral dental surgical procedures like last molar removal.
Nanoneedles like Sandvik Bioline are available.
5 Bone replacement materials:- Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles can be used to treat bone defects
.These can be used in
maxillofacial injuries requiring bone graft,
cleft patients and
in gum surgeries.
6. OtherNano products are:-
Protective clothing and filtration masks using antipathogenic nanoemulsions and nanoparticles.
Medical bandages for instantaneous healing.
Nanodentistry will give a new vision to comprehensive oral health care, as now trends of oral health have been changing to more preventive intervention than a curative and restorative procedure.
This science might sound like a fiction now, but Nanodentistry has a strong potential to revolutionize dentistry as to diagnosing and treating dental diseases in future.