A dental implant that consists of a reservoir for slow drug release has been developed by scientists. There have been tests conducted in a laboratory in which a strong antimicrobial drug was released slowly by the reservoir and reflected that the new implant can avert and eliminate bacterial biofilms which is the main cause of infections that are related with dental implants. From the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics at KU Leuven, Lead author Dr. Kaat De Cremer claims that by removing the cover screw the reservoir present in the implant van be filled. She further stated that for the drug to slowly spread from the reservoir to the outer part of the implant it is made up of composite material that is porous, hence the bacteria is no longer able to develop a biofilm. Commonly, there are two life-forms of bacteria. In the first form which is known as the planktonic state, they exist as independent cells. In the second form they accumulate in a mass which is slime-enclosed and is known as biofilm.
Biofilms are infamously difficult to treat and stubborn, if they become chronic they are extensively antagonistic to antibiotics. The major reason behind the failure of most dental implants are said to be mouth infections. As a result of this, researchers are looking for modes of protection against the infection by the development of a coating of antimicrobial for the implants. In a study conducted by the researchers, they stated that the developers of implants are extensively making the use of materials that have rough surface because they help in expanding the area of contact and enhance anchorage with the cells of the bone. However, it is suggested that implants that have greater surface area also increase the risks of development of biofilms.
The new implant is a combination of diffused barrier that are silicone-based that is mixed into a titanium structure that is porous and load-bearing. The researchers experimented various test with the implants in which they filled the reservoir with chlorhexidine which is known to be a strong antimicrobial that is generally utilized as mouth wash. The tests reflected that the implant which had been filled with chlorhexidine shunned the growth of Streptococcus mutans which are known to be a common bacterium of the mouth that target the teeth by forming biofilms. It also helps to defeat biofilms that must have grown on the implant before fixing the reservoir.