Graphene is the strongest, thinnest material in existence. At one-atom thick, it’s two-hundred times stronger than steel. People used the term graphene as early as 1962. But it wasn’t until 2002 when an expert in microscopic thin materials experimented with thin sheets of carbon and produced truly monoatomic sheets. The material is currently being used to develop transparent, flexible solar cells, and has a host of other applications. So how does graphene come into play for dentistry? Recent research suggests that dental implants could be next in line to benefit from this “supermaterial.” Dental implants are a beneficial choice all on their own. Many people elect implants because they are so much like natural teeth and have a high rate of success.
Advances in Implant Technology
Implant dentists can now match implants to your natural teeth in shade and shape with almost no perceptible difference. Digital tooth impressions and computer-aided technology create customized implants specifically for your dental needs. High quality dental porcelain allow the implants to match your natural teeth in almost every way: color, shade, translucence, and luster.
Not only do dental implants look natural, they function naturally too. Your gums grow right up around the implant, just like a natural tooth, so there’s no discrepancy in appearance or function. For this reason, implants are used and cared for the same way we maintain the health of natural teeth. While this is one of the many benefits of implants, this also means that implants are susceptible to oral biofilms that can cause cavity causing bacteria. Implants rarely fail. In fact, dental implants have a 98% success rate, lasting twenty-five years to a lifetime, but when they do, the main cause is gum disease. As with teeth, biofilms accumulating on the implant lead to irritated and damaged gum tissue.
Supermaterial to the Rescue
Now, recent studies exploring the applications of graphene show that it could cut rate of dental implant failure even more. That’s because graphene is not only one of the strongest, thinnest material in existence, it’s also antibacterial.
When scientists at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden experimented with graphene, they tried something radically different. Instead of placing the graphene flakes horizontally like in solar panels and other applications, they tried to place them vertically. The results demonstrated that a vertical placement kills off bacteria.
Further research is currently underway to determine whether graphene, in combination with other implant materials, could be an effective agent against caries-causing biofilms. For now, dental implants are one of the best modern innovations.
They are the closest thing we have to growing a replacement tooth. If you are looking to replace your missing teeth or get rid of your dentures, please call (702) 873-0324 today to schedule a consultation at the office of Summerlin implant dentist, Dr. James B. Polley.