The bacterial and fungal pathogens that form biofilm on traditional dental implants pose a significant risk for infections, since biofilm resists antimicrobial drugs like antibiotics. Now, researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium have developed a titanium-silica dental implant that reduces these infection risks by fending off pathogens before biofilm forms.
“Our implant has a built-in reservoir underneath the crown of the tooth,” said Kaat De Cremer, PhD, lead author of the study. “A cover screw makes it easy to fill this reservoir with antimicrobial drugs. The implant is made of a porous composite material, so that the drugs gradually diffuse from the reservoir to the outside of the implant, which is in direct contact with the bone cells. As a result, the bacteria can no longer form a biofilm.”
The researchers subjected the implant to various tests for use with chlorhexidine mouthwash. According to the results, Streptococcus mutans can’t form biofilms on the outside of the implant when the reservoir is filled with chlorhexidine. Biofilms that were grown beforehand on the implant were eliminated in the same way, meaning the implant is effective in both preventing and curing infections.
The study, “Controlled Release of Chlorohexidine from a Mesoporous Silica-Containing Macroporous Titanium Dental Implant Prevents Microbial Biofilm Formation,” was published by European Cells and Materials.