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‘Nanosurgery’ Could Help Accelerate Orthodontic Treatment Results

Thanks to the aid of specialized nanotechnology, patients who dread oral surgery required during orthodontic care may no longer have a good reason to skip treatment.

Thanks to the aid of specialized nanotechnology, patients who dread oral surgery required during orthodontic care may no longer have a good reason to skip treatment. A preclinical study published in ACS Nano, “Proteolytic Nanoparticles Replace a Surgical Blade by Controllably Remodeling the Oral Connective Tissue,” reports liposomal nanoparticles infused with collagenase produced orthodontic results significantly faster than traditional surgery—and without pain.

In some cases, teeth are misaligned to the extent that surgery is indicated to cut collagen fibers to facilitate tooth movement via orthodontic appliances. Led by Avi Schroeder, PhD, assistant professor at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, the team developed liposomal nanoparticles (commonly used for drug delivery) that contain collagenase enzymes. This approach demonstrated the potential to remodel fibers connecting teeth to bone in the mandible without using a scalpel. In an animal model study, the researchers found that when liposomes were placed in the gingiva, the collagenase diffused out of the particles and was activated by calcium in the oral cavity.

According to the study, the collagenase weakened the collagen fibers, making it easier to shift the dentition via orthodontic appliances. When compared to conventional surgery, the collagenase treatment helped move the teeth three times faster. Although all of the rats lost weight after surgery—just as humans typically do—subjects treated with collagenase quickly rebounded to their normal weight, which the researchers suggest indicates they were in no pain following surgical intervention.

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter
April 2018

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