Swedish researchers have developed a new material that improves the strength and durability of dental implants and could significantly benefit the millions of people who receive false teeth.
Scientists at Linköping University, reporting in the British Medical Journal, said they have found adding a new drug coating – derived from active ingredients in osteoporosis drugs -- allows the titanium screws in artificial teeth to bond better and faster with jawbones.
Typically, people who receive dental implants are unable to chew food for up to six months, until the devices become fixated in the bone. But tests of the new coating – using a key protein contained in bisphosphonate-based drugs used to treat osteoporosis -- have found it promotes bonding in just a couple months.
The study, led by Per Aspenberg, an orthopedic surgeon at Linköping, involved 16 patients who received two implants – a standard device and a second, using the new drug. Researchers found the treated implants became denser and stronger more quickly than traditional devices. After just two months X-rays showed positive changes near the treated screws in the patients. After six months, the treated implants were “better established” in 15 of the 16 patients.
The team is now working with a Swedish company to create a commercially available surface treatment for different types of implants in bone.