Dental implants with antibacterial activity and designed to facilitate integration into the bone
Mouth infections are currently regarded as the main reason why dental implants fail. A piece of research by the UPV/EHU has succeeded in developing coatings capable of preventing potential bacterial infection and should it arise, eliminate it as well as providing implants with Osseo integrating properties, in other words, ones that facilitate anchoring to the bone. The quest for surfaces capable of preventing bacterial colonisation and adhesion in the area surrounding the implant "is a subject of undoubted interest, borne out by the huge number of publications that have been developed in this field”. The fact is that "about 10% of implants have to be removed due to Osseo integration problems or to the onset of infections," she added. When it comes to designing strategies to combat these problems, one has to bear in mind the challenge posed by providing the surface of titanium implants with antibacterial properties, and at the same time, by the tremendous resistance that bacterial strains are capable of developing to conventional therapies with antibiotics. That was the challenge that the UPV/EHU group, which has for some time been developing materials geared towards dental implants, was keen to tackle. "We had already obtained coatings that facilitate the generating of bone around the implant and thus facilitate anchoring to the bone. In a bid to go a step further, we looked at how to turn these coatings into bactericides," said the researcher. The method they used for this was sol-gel synthesis. Sol-gel synthesis is based on the preparation of a precursor solution (sol) that when left on its own for a while turns into a gel that can be used to coat the surface of the titanium screw and after heat treatment at a high temperature in the kiln ends up finally being adhered to the screw that will be implanted. "We used silica as the precursor, because in many studies this compound has been shown to be osteo-inductive, so it facilitates one of the objectives we wanted to achieve. What is more, to provide the materials with antibacterial characteristics, we added various antibacterial agents."
Journal of Oral Hygiene and Health