Could New Technology Eliminate Dental Implant Infections?

Oct 21, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Dental Implant Kills Bacteria

Dental implants are a great technology, but they are vulnerable to infection by oral bacteria, which leads to failure of the implant. It’s the most common cause of dental implant failure. So if we can manage to eliminate this risk, we will have a dental implant procedure whose success rate will approach 100%.

A Different Approach to Infections

The new antibacterial technology being developed by an Israeli company doesn’t use chemical antibiotics. Antibiotics have many drawbacks when it comes to using them as an addition to an implant. They can degrade over time, can leach out of the implant, and bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic can thrive in an environment free of competition from other bacteria.

But the new system, called NanoLock, uses a mechanical method to kill bacteria. Basically, the system has a material in it that ”punches a hole” in a bacterium, killing it. Tiny particles of this material are scattered through the implant, like a series of traps. They claim that their system kills “at least 99.99999% of bacteria, and possibly more.” That means that at most only one in ten million bacteria survive, resulting in a smaller bacterial population that the immune system can easily handle.

The company says it already has a proof of concept contract with a major dental surgery company.

Questions Remain

This is a new technology, and so, of course, questions remain. First, we’re not sure how they’ve established the effectiveness of their material. Laboratory studies often don’t correlate with real-world success. There’s also the question of how this material would affect osseointegration, since the broadly destructive material could be just as damaging to bone-making cells and bone cells themselves.

And if we’re introducing inclusions into our titanium implants, we have to worry about whether these inclusions will increase the risk of fracture or other mechanical failure. Dental implants have to take a lot of punishment in their lives, and not all materials can stand up to it.

But we will still watch this technology with excitement and hope that it proves as effective in trials as it has in the lab.

If you want to learn more about the advanced technology that makes dental implants so successful, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a Grapevine implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care today.