The nanodiamonds are basically byproducts of diamond mining, and their shape is very similar to a very small soccer ball.
In a joint effort to make a breakthrough in dentistry, scientists from the UCLA School of Dentistry, collaborators from the NanoCarbon Research Institute from Japan and scientists from the UCLA Bioengineering department have come up with a solution to use these diamond mining byproducts in implant dentistry.
According to the researchers, the nanodiamonds could be used to improve the growth of the jaw bone for dental implant surgery, and to make bone less brittle.
Patients struggling with osteonecrosis have to put up with a very harsh disease where their jaw bones are breaking down very easily due to a decreased blood flow.
Osteonecrosis is such a condition which hinders the patient from being able to chew food normally or to speak correctly.
Even joint movement can be hindered by osteonecrosis, but in the implant dentistry treatment a very important prerequisite is that the dental implant patient has enough, healthy jaw bone density, otherwise the dental implant will become loose and ultimately fall out.
For both functional and aesthetic reasons, enough jaw bone is extremely important when it comes to going through dental implant therapy. For patients with lack of jaw bone density, a bone repair therapy is performed.
This is when the dentist will introduce a special sponge through quite invasive oral surgery. Now through that sponge the bone growth proteins will be administered (especially bone morphogenic protein). The nanodiamonds allow for a non-invasive administration of these proteins, through special oral rinses or injections.
The researchers discovered that delivering these proteins with the help of nanodiamonds could be much more effective than the traditional method for dental implants.
The nanodiamonds are microscopic particles which are not visible to the human eye, but they can bind extremely quickly to the fibroblast growth factor and to the bone morphogenic protein.
Thus, the bone growth proteins can be administered extremely quickly and efficiently too. The nanodiamonds have got a unique shape and surface texture which allows for these proteins to be administered in a much slower way.
This also means that the problematic surface within the mouth can be exposed to longer dental implant treatment times successfully.
There have been several studies run in order to test the safety of these nanodiamond particles. It has been found that they are very well tolerated, which means that nanodiamonds could have a bright future in the field of dentistry in general, and dental and jaw bone repairs in particular.
Many experts foresee that nanodiamonds will have much broader applications in the field of surgery, such as being used in dental implant surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, maxillofacial treatments/surgeries and in regenerative medicine in general.