Researchers in Norway claim they have developed a device that will make large bone grafts more effective. It will also make bone grafts more useful for gum disease treatment, and potentially speed the dental implant process for people who need a bone graft.
Strong as Bone
The new device is a different kind of scaffolding material. Unlike current scaffolding materials, which are soft, spongelike materials, this new scaffolding material is supposedly as strong as bone.
The advantage of the spongelike material is that it’s porous, allowing new bone to grow in and around it. However, its softness means it’s not suitable for large grafts, such as ones needed by people who had bone removed because of oral cancer. It also means that it’s not suitable to help restore bone lost around teeth because of gum disease. Chewing forces would disrupt the soft scaffolding and prevent or delay the regrowth of bone. Without support, the tooth might even be lost before the new bone can regrow.
The new scaffolding, called Nubone, solves these problems. It’s sturdy as bone, capable of providing support and stabilizing teeth, but it’s as porous the scaffolding currently being used. And researchers say that the new scaffolding can be used with stem cells to provide even faster regeneration.
Perhaps most exciting, this new graft material could potentially provide stability for a new dental implant, which means that even people who need a bone graft might be able to get a dental crown on their dental implant the day it’s placed.
Made of Food Additives
Another exciting feature of the new scaffolding material is that it’s made of titanium dioxide powder. Titanium dioxide is what the surface of titanium dental implants naturally oxidize to, so we already know it’s highly compatible with bone growth. Not only that, it’s a material widely used in medications and food products, so it’s undergone numerous rounds of testing.
We look forward to seeing more tests of this new material and hopefully sharing its benefits with our patients.