Smart Dental Implants Generate Their Own Electricity to Kill Bacteria and Heal Infected Gums

By: | September 11th, 2021

Image courtesy: Albert Kim

Dental implants have changed the course of dentistry in the last couple of decades. Millions of people around the world have dental implants today. But often a surgical replacement is required due to a chronic gum infection.

Better implants that generate electricity through mouth movements

A team of scientists at Pennsylvania State University is currently developing a new type of implant. This implant can help reduce inflammation and speed the healing of gum tissue damaged by infections.

How does it work?

This implant has a steel body with a rectifier circuit, battery, and near-infrared ring inside the artificial tooth or crown. Micro LEDs around the exposed base protrudes from the bottom of the crown, screwed to the jawbone.

The crown is made of a dental resin combined with an inorganic compound called barium titanate (BTO). It has piezoelectric properties, which means that it produces an electric charge in response to mechanical stress. 

A charge generated while chewing is stored in the battery. The battery powers the micro LED to illuminate the surrounding gingival tissue. This therapeutic light exposure or phototherapy can reduce inflammation, kill bacterial infection and heal gingival tissue damaged by infection.

Asst. Prof. Geelsu Hwang at Pennsylvania State University, said, “We hope to further develop the implant system and eventually see it commercialized so it can be used in the dental field,” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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