Diamonds are used for a whole lot more than just wedding rings. In fact, there are more than just one type of diamond. For instance, there are what’s referred to as nanodiamonds, which are created as byproducts of conventional mining and refining operations.
Now, these tiny diamonds may find a use in dental procedures, and not for putting “bling” in the mouths of rappers and athletes.
Pioneers in Nanotechnology
Recently, scientists from the University of California led by Dr. Dean Ho, professor of oral biology and medicine, discovered that nanodiamonds could actually be used in a new process to stimulate bone growth, treat oral related diseases and most importantly, improve efficiency of dental implant procedures.
Currently, bone repair operations are performed utilizing invasive surgery to administer a group of proteins that stimulate bone growth. The procedure is problematic however due to a few factors, such as cost and time. In addition to that, the fact remains that things like implant failure can occur and when the body rejects the foreign material in the implants the procedure then has to be redone, sometimes multiple times.
“We’ve conducted several comprehensive studies, in both cells and animal models, looking at the safety of the nanodiamond particles,” said Laura Moore, the first author of the study and an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Northwestern University. “Initial studies indicate that they are well tolerated, which further increases their potential in dental and bone repair applications.”
Now, however, using this new procedure, nanodiamonds are used to deliver the proteins in a less invasive procedure such as a simple injection, and one day soon something as simple and painless as a swab.
The surface of the diamonds allow the proteins to easily and effectively bond to them and the entire amount used, both protein and nanodiamonds, are microscopic.
“This discovery serves as a foundation for the future of nanotechnology in dentistry, orthopedics and other domains in medicine,” said Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the School of Dentistry. “Dr. Ho and his team have demonstrated the enormous potential of the nanodiamonds toward improving patient care. He is a pioneer in his field.”
While still in the research and study phase this procedure will more than likely become the norm saving time, money and most importantly, patient discomfort.
Until then make sure you come in to see Dr. Matthews for all your dental needs from dental implants to routine checkups and cleanings.