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Coating Developed to Enable Faster, Stronger Dental Implants

Per Aspenberg (Linköping University)

Per Aspenberg (Linköping University)

A clinical study led by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden shows that a new process speeds and strengthens the implants of artificial teeth in the jaw bones of patients. The findings of the study appear online in the journal Bone (paid subscription required), and the study leader has founded a company for commercializing the technology.

With current methods, securing dental implants requires four to six months before the bone surrounding the screws holding the implant heals and is strong enough so the patient can chew food and otherwise benefit from the surgery. The study led by Per Aspenberg (pictured left), professor of orthopedic surgery at Linköping, tested in humans a method of coating the implants with a drug compound used to strengthen bones that had shown promise in earlier studies on animals.

A method developed by Gothenburg University biomaterials professor (and co-author) Pentti Tengvall adds a nanometer-thin thin layer — 1 nanometer equals 1 billionth of a meter — of the protein fibrinogen to the titanium screws anchoring the implant in the bone. Combined with the protein are two bisphosphonates, a type of drug made for treating osteoporosis.

The study tested the method in 16 patients in a double-blind clinical trial, where patients received two implants: one with the bisphosphonate compound and one without. Neither the surgeons nor patients were told which implants had the compound, and which ones did not.

Based on measures known as implant stability quotients, 15 of the 16 patients showed after six months the treated implants had stronger attachments to the bones than the untreated implants. X-rays also showed after two and six months that the treated implants had less bone loss (resorption) in the area of the implants. None of the patients suffered complications from the procedure.

The company AddBIO AB, also in Linköping, was co-founded in 2008 by Aspenberg to commercialize this work. The company is developing a product called Zolidd, based on the dental implant technology of Aspenberg and Tengvall, for the marketplace, and plans to extend the platform to other types of bone implants. AddBIO is a subsidiary of Accelerator Nordic that owns a majority share of a collection of Scandinavia life sciences companies.

Read More: New Treatment Fixes Tooth Decay Without Drilling

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