Recently researchers have discovered that diamonds on a much much smaller scale than those used in jewelry could be used to promote bone growth and the durability of dental implants.
These Nano-diamonds created as byproducts of conventional mining and refining operations and are approximately four to five nanometers in diameter, shaped like tiny soccer balls.
The Scientists at the UCLA Department of Bioengineering and Northwestern University along with collaborators at the Nano-Carbon Research Institute in Japan have found a way to use them to improve bone growth and combat osteonecrosis, which is a potentially debilitating disease in which bones break down due to reduced blood flow.
Research shows that when osteonecrosis affects the jaw it can prevent people from eating and speaking and when it occurs near joints it can restrict or preclude movement and bone loss also occurs next to implants such as prosthetic joints or teeth which lead to the implants becoming loose or failing.
Application of Nano-Diamonds:
The failure in Implant requires additional procedures which can be painful and expensive and can jeopardize the function the patient had gained with an implant. The Challenges of this nature are exacerbated when the disease occurs in the mouth where there is a limited supply of local bone that can be used to secure the prosthetic tooth, which is a key consideration for both functional and aesthetic reasons.
During research a bone repair operations was performed, which are typically costly and time-consuming doctors insert a sponge through invasive surgery to locally administer proteins that promote bone growth such as bone morphogenic protein.
Japanese team discovered that using Nano-diamonds to deliver these proteins has the potential to be more effective than the conventional approaches. These studies found that Nano-diamonds are invisible to the human eye and bind rapidly to both bone morphogenetic protein and fibroblast growth factor, which demonstrates that the proteins can be simultaneously delivered using one vehicle. Unique surface of the diamonds allows the proteins to be delivered more slowly which may allow the affected area to be treated for a longer period of time. The Nano-diamonds can be administered non-invasively such as by an injection or an oral rinse.
This development serves as a foundation for the future of nanotechnology in dentistry, orthopedics and other domains in medicine.