The newer developments taking place in dentistry are making the field more fascinating. A lot of things that were considered to be unachievable just a few years back are rapidly appearing to be achievable. If we look at the developments of the last few months, the most significant one appears to be the work done at Universitat Jaume I (UJI) in Castellón. The researchers have worked on the coating on dental implants and have explored the possibility of getting the bone regenerated during osseointegration. This, if becomes a reality and a clinical success, would be a great boon in individuals with inadequate bone quality & quantity.
The researchers have come up with a novel biodegradable material that coats the implant surface, which upon contact with the bone, dissolves and releases certain bioactive molecules that induce bone generation. Till now a lot of experimentation has been done with the implant surface modification at macro, micro and nano levels – all in order to create surface roughness to achieve an improved stability. The current work appears to be different and innovative in that it aims to improve the success rate of implants in people with jawbone deficiencies. With the researchers going ahead with clinical evaluation, the product is expected to be in the market in 2- 3 years of time. But even if this becomes a reality we need to understand that there are certain conditions that may not get benefitted by this innovation.
For example, bone loss due to smoking, where the vascularity itself is compromised. If such an implant is placed in a smoker, all the subsequent events - the dissolution of the coating, release of bioactive molecules and osteoinduction – for which excellent vascularity is a prerequisite, will not achieve the desired levels of clinical success. This is a principle in bone grafting and other regenerative procedures too. So the clinicians and implantologists should use their clinical experience and evidence based dentistry to differentiate high and poor prognosis cases based on sound biological principles before blindly trusting a new product to be a solution for all challenging cases.
Dr. Rajeev Chitguppi
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