Use Of Nanotechnology In Orthodontic Treatment

The field of science and technology has seen radical advancements and one such progression in the field of material science is nanotechnology. Nanotechnology deals with structure at the Nano scale and is one of the most crucial advancements of the 21st century, due to its economic and scientific potential. With the advent of nanotechnology, it has been applied in various fields in orthodontics from the coating of the surface to the innovation of new materials.

What Are Nano Particles?
Nano particles are particles produced in a calculated manner that has a typical dimension of 1 to 100 nm and has properties that are not shared by particles which do not belong to the nanoscale particles with the same chemical structure.

Application Of Nanotechnology In Orthodontics
Nanotechnology is used in the field of orthodontics to sustain good oral health. Silver nanoparticles are used as antimicrobial agents in the manufacturing of cement and resin bases of dentures, root canal columns and orthodontic sealants. The antimicrobial property in the particles decreases the build-up of plaque around the brackets. With the help of nanotechnology, we can reduce the friction and scuffing that happens to the mouth because of the braces. Nanotechnology is being used to make braces more friction resistance while also maintaining transparency. Researchers are still working on using NiTi nanotechnology that can give the dental wire shape-memory and super flexible properties.

  • Nano Coatings in Arch Wires to Reduce Friction – Friction in the mouth is a major problem during orthodontic treatment. Nano coatings are used either on the bracket surface or NiTi wires to prevent abrasion.
  • Orthodontic Brackets – The material with which the bracket is made contains polysulfone with hard aluminia nanoparticles for strength, decreased friction and biocompatibility while maintaining the transparency of the bracket.
  • Nanoparticles Application as Antimicrobial Agent – Cavities and white spot lesions are common problems while undergoing orthodontic treatment due to the accumulation of plaque around the brackets. Silver, gold, silica, copper, nitrogen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles have been coated on both brackets to prevent tooth decay during orthodontic treatment.

Uses Of Nanoparticles In Dentistry
Nanoparticles have been used for administering local anesthesia, diagnosis and cure of oral cancer and dressing wounds. Nanoparticles are used in dental materials which are used for restoration and dental procedures. They react effectively with microbial membrane and provide a larger surface area for anti-microbial activity.

There has been a lot of exploration on the application of nanotechnology in orthodontics and there’s a lot more work which needs to be done. Extensive research and improvisation in the field of nanotechnology is constantly being done so that the clinical application is available at a fair price to both the orthodontist and the patients.

Author Bio:

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and faculty member at Columbia University believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile to his face. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing.

5 Different Types Of Braces And Which Is Right For You

Are you thinking of getting braces?

Well luckily for you, this is the perfect time to get braces due to the various options that are available nowadays to straighten your teeth as compared to the traditional metal braces that were available a couple of years back. There is a vast variety of braces available that are great improvements of the traditional metal braces making it easy for you to tackle various orthodontic problems that you may face.

If you’re not familiar with orthodontics then all these choices can be confusing initially. The best way to clear this up is by prioritizing what’s important to you in your treatment.

5 Types Of Braces Available

  1. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional metal braces with the exception of the brackets and the wires being installed at the back of your teeth. The installation and maintenance can be a bit tough due to the positioning of it but it will serve its purpose. Due to its unique placement and installation process, it usually costs a bit more and can be a bit strenuous to wear initially, but this is best for people who want to maintain an aesthetic appearance of their mouths.

  1. Ceramic Braces

These braces have different kinds of names, some of which are aesthetic braces, tooth-colored braces, porcelain braces or clear braces. Ceramic braces are the same as traditional metal braces with the sole exception that they are designed to blend in with your natural tooth color, making them less visible.

Ceramic braces are a great choice for adults or teens who want to minimize the appearance of their braces. These types of braces will give you a cosmetic experience while wearing braces. These types of braces are much more likely to break than their traditional counterparts so it is not recommended to have these types of braces installed when a lot of pressure is needed to move your teeth.

  1. Self-Ligating Braces

These types of braces are currently very popular with orthodontists as it requires less dental visits and gentler treatment. Self-ligating braces produce quicker results as the teeth move without needing to be adjusted. This type of movement asserts less pressure and friction on your teeth, making it less painful for your gums. Fewer trips to your dentist will cost you less money and less time.

  1. Invisalign Braces

These are a clear kind of braces that you can opt for instead of metal braces. They are made up of clear plastic aligners that are similar to mouth guards which have been specially designed for your mouth. Invisalign aligners can be removed when eating, brushing and cleaning but you will need to switch out your aligner every fortnight. Each new aligner is designed to increase the adjustment of your teeth more and more.

Aligners are generally recommended by an orthodontist for ongoing use after finishing your orthodontic treatment. These aligners will maintain your teeth’s positions till they have settled into their intended positions.

  1. Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional braces are made of high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth using a kind of cement. These brackets are then connected with one another with a thin archwire. This will put pressure on your teeth to move slowly into their intended positions.

The archwires are connected to the brackets with tiny elastics which are known as ligatures or o-rings which will be switched out each time your dentist tightens your braces. Traditional metal braces are still the most common braces in use today and are both an excellent and practical option for people who suffer from complicated tooth and jaw problems.

You have a wide variety of braces to choose from nowadays and are no longer limited to the large metal braces that have adorned every crooked set of teeth and been the object of ridicule for close to five decades now. Whatever your age, if you need braces now, there is a much wider variety to choose from.

Author Bio:

Sharon Williams’ day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meets in her neighbourhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.

Dentists Get Cracking On The Stem Cell Front

Stem cells. Few research discoveries hold as much promise of single-handedly expanding medical treatment options as they do. Miraculously able to act as transformers – either re-creating or morphing into a variety of cell types found within the organisms they originate from – stem cells offer humanity hope for new, more effective therapies against a number of chronic and terminal diseases. And finding them is surprisingly easy.

“Stem cells can be extracted from nearly any living tissue,” says Dr. James Mah, director of UNLV’s advanced education program in orthodontics, doctor of dental surgery, and dental researcher. “In fact, stem cells can even be found in tissues of the deceased.” But in spite of all their potential, there’s a catch: “The biggest challenges with stem cells are gathering enough of them to work with and keeping them viable until they are needed,” Dr. Mah said.

He and UNLV biomedical sciences professor Karl Kingsley – along with a handful of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral dental students – decided to take on this challenge, cutting their teeth in stem cell research by exploring those pearly whites in new ways. In the process, they developed a new method for extracting large numbers of stem cells they could then preserve from a surprisingly abundant source: wisdom teeth.

“More and more adults – approximately 5 million throughout the country – have their wisdom teeth, or third molars, removed,” Kingsley said. “Extracting teeth is relatively common among patients undergoing orthodontic treatments. And the majority of those teeth are healthy, containing viable tooth root pulp that offers opportunities for reproducing cells that have been damaged or destroyed by injuries or disease.”

A Tough Nut To Crack

Tooth root pulp is home to two types of prized stem cells. The first, pluripotent stem cells, have the ability to become any cell in the organism from which they’re drawn. The second, multi-potent stem cells, transform into specific types of cells within that organism. Knowing where to find these cells was one thing. Recovering them, the researchers knew, would be another.

Common methods for extracting root pulp involve drilling into, removing the top of, or shattering the tooth. Each method has its detriments, Dr. Mah said, all of which lead to a low stem-cell recovery rate: damaging heat from drilling, corrosive elements in the water teeth are rinsed in, contaminating enamel particulates, and more. So the researchers sought to discover how to extract pulp in a manner that consistently produced a higher yield. “Initially, the answer seemed simple: crack the tooth in half like a nut and remove the pulp,” Dr. Mah said.

Unfortunately, teeth have irregular surfaces and non-uniform shapes, so cracking teeth usually produces the same shattering effect as a hammer, thereby reducing the number of viable stem cells.

Happy Ghag, then a dental student working with Dr. Mah and Kingsley on the project, thought he might have solution to the dilemma. He approached Mohamed Trabia, UNLV Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering’s associate dean for research, graduate studies, and computing, and Brendan O’Toole, Mendenhall Innovation Program director and mechanical engineering researcher, to discuss fracture analysis.

“Happy had reviewed fracture mechanics literature and decided on a technique that scored the tooth to enable a clean break, similar to the process for custom-cut glass,” O’Toole said. After a few discussions, some of Engineering’s personnel helped Ghag fabricate the device.

The completed instrument, which the research team facetiously dubbed the Tooth Cracker 5000, uses a clamp to hold a tooth in position for a cutting tool to score the surface and a blade to crack it. The result: a perfectly halved tooth, with immediate access to undamaged and uncontaminated root pulp. For O’Toole, this was just another successful collaboration between the two units, as mechanical engineering had been interacting with the School of Dental Medicine’s orthodontic program for a few years.

“Orthodontics, by definition, is a bioengineering topic,” O’Toole said. “They design and place mechanisms in people’s mouths that help move teeth into optimum position. The interaction between our departments makes a lot of sense.” With the Tooth Cracker 5000 complete, Dr. Mah and Kingsley tested the fracture rate of 25 teeth, achieving a 100 percent rate of success. The fracture idea and design prototype had worked perfectly.

Excavating For Success

Now that the researchers had cracked the challenge of accessing the root pulp, it was on to determining how many viable stem cells they could recover from the fractured teeth. Average pulp recovery rates employing common extraction methods – shattering, drilling, etc. – come in at around 20 percent, Dr. Mah noted.

It was time to test the mettle of their new fracture method. Dr. Mah and Kingsley dyed 31 fractured teeth pulp samples to highlight any viable stem cells the teeth contained. Dead cells would turn blue when exposed to the dye. Living cells would appear clear. They looked under the microscope. Eighty percent of their extracted cells remained clear after the dye was introduced.

“Saying the test results were promising is a gross understatement,” Dr. Mah said. “We realized we’d invented an extraction process that produced four times the recovery success rate for viable stem cells. The potential application is enormous.”

Replicating For A Rainy Day

After mastering fracturing and extraction, it was time for the team to determine what kind of stem cells could be harvested and how best to store them.

Normal cells within the body typically die after 10 replications or passages, whereas stem cells can replicate indefinitely, Kingsley indicated. To isolate the stem cells from the rest of the root pulp, the researchers harvested cells from the pulp and cultured them on a petri dish. Once the cells covered the dish, they split the culture in half and repeated the process between 10 and 20 times.

By the end of the culturing, all non-stem cells had expired. Kingsley captured the remaining stem cells and collected their ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is converted into proteins that become biomarkers his team could use to characterize each stem cell type and its respective rate of replication.

“Scientists around the world are trying to figure out what type of stem cells can be coaxed into becoming new cells or different tissue types,” Kingsley said. “We already know some populations of dental pulp stem cells can be converted into neurons, which could become therapies for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.”

Kingsley noted that teams of scientists around the world are working with animal models to test using stem cells to treat neurological conditions. Early indications, he said, are positive. Although there is still a need for additional tests, Kingsley indicated that the next logical step in this research would be to test stem cells in humans to treat any number of chronic illnesses people face.

“There are potential applications of stem cells for multiple diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and lung disease,” Kingsley said. “The next challenge is reliably collecting the stem cells early enough and storing them successfully so they can be used when needed.”

Preserving The Prize

According to multiple studies, the number of pluripotent stem cells found in teeth decrease dramatically after adults reach the age of 30, Kingsley said. However, people could donate stem cells found in their teeth much like they may donate their blood prior to a surgical procedure or preserve their umbilical cords. If people elected to have their wisdom teeth removed or were having a root canal performed, their stem cells could be harvested at that time and stored for future use.

Creating that possibility has led Dr. Mah and Kingsley to the next step in their research: the cryogenic process. “There is no standard cryogenesis, or freezing process, for storing stem cells,” Kingsley said. “There are multiple organizations that collect and freeze teeth for future studies and use, but there is no evidence about the long-term effects of cryopreservation. We can’t answer yet just how long the cells will survive.”

In 2011, dental student Allison Tomlin studied different populations of stem cells and their viability after being thawed. Every year since, Kingsley and his team have thawed a portion of Tomlin’s sample and evaluated the viability of remaining stem cells.

Initial findings – which Kingsley, Tomlin, and R. Michael Sanders, clinical sciences professor in the dental school, published in their Biomaterials and Biomechanics in Bioengineering article The Effects of Cryopreservation on Human Dental Pulp-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells – indicate that rapidly dividing cells have higher rates of viability year after year compared to slower dividing cells. If these results remain constant, the stem cells could be sorted before the freezing process based on when they might be needed.

“The work Dr. Kingsley and I are doing is part of a paradigm shift,” Dr. Mah said. “Our fracturing process could hasten the collection and cryogenesis process, thereby preserving a high stem-cell count that furthers research into how using these cells can aid healing and potentially cure diseases.”