It looks like the latest developments in dental medicine could give the phrase “bright smile” a whole new meaning.
Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry and NanoCarbon Research Institute in Japan have discovered that diamonds could be the key to improving dental health and promoting bone growth, not to mention also providing extra support to dental implants.
To be more exact, scientists have concluded that a series of invisible-to-the-eye nanodiamonds, spherical in shape and no more than 4 – 5 nanometers in diameter, could be one of the front lines of defense against osteonecrosis. Osteonecrosis is a disease in which blood flow to the bones is reduced, thereby causing bone to be broken down faster than it’d be naturally replaced.
This potentially debilitating condition also happens to be a side effect of chemotherapy. Over time, the condition can lead to an inability to speak or eat, loose teeth, a numb jaw, slow healing gums, and exposed bone.
How Nanodiamonds Could Help
Generally, the treatment for osteonecrosis is a costly and time consuming procedure that involves surgical insertion of a protein administering sponge. However, the nanodiamonds have the capability to simplify the process due to their unique structure.
Perhaps most significant is the fact that the nanodiamonds do not have to be surgically implanted, as they can be administered via an injection or an oral rinse. Additionally, the surface of the diamond allows for a slower release of the bone stimulating protein, bone morphogenic protein, which, in turn, allows for a longer treatment period.
The Current State of Nanodiamond Research
While the research for the various applications and efficacy of nandiamonds is still ongoing, UCLA’s dean of the School of Dentistry seems encouraged by the findings, noting, “This discovery serves as a foundation for the future of nanotechnology in dentistry, orthopedics and other domains in medicine.”
Indeed the nanodiamond research has yielded positive results in studies involving animals and cells. Researchers were pleased to find that the animals and cells were receptive to the nanodiamonds.
The promising research by the UCLA and Japanese teams gives hope to sufferers of osteonecrosis. A diamond encrusted set of chompers could just be the key to relief.
Maintaining proper oral health practices is vital in preventing a number of dental diseases.