Ann Conkle
Mar 1, 2012

New method for stronger dental implants

Millions of people have bad teeth replaced with implants. Following the procedure, they cannot chew food for up to six months, until the implant is fixated in the bone. Now, for the first time, a drug coating has been tested on humans that allows titanium screws to adhere to the bone faster. The coating, developed at Linköping University in Sweden, consists of a nanometer-thin layer of protein attached to the implant. Attached to the protein is a bisphosphonate drug, usually used to treat osteoporosis. 16 patients each received two implants; one normal and a similar surface-treated implant as described above. Neither the patient nor the dental surgeon knew which was which. After two months, X-ray images showed positive changes adjacent to the treated screws. After six months, it was noted that for 15 of the 16 patients the treated screw was markedly better established. No complications occurred.