Nanodiamonds Shine for Root Canal Therapy
Successful long-term outcomes in root canal therapy hinge on effective obturation and preventing recurring or future infection. Now, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry have found that nanodiamonds — microscopic particles formed as byproducts of diamond mining and refining — can be used to help reinforce gutta-percha obturation materials. Nanodiamonds have already been explored for use in various dental restoratives, as well as for cancer therapy, imaging and regenerative medicine, among other applications.
The UCLA team developed and tested two materials: one strengthened with nanodiamonds, and one strengthened with nanodiamonds preloaded with antibiotics. The nanoengineered gutta-percha was tested in vitro in human teeth, and then examined using radiography and microcomputed tomography. The researchers determined that the nanodiamond-enhanced material obturated as effectively as traditional gutta-percha and also provided enhanced mechanical characteristics. Next, nanodiamond gutta-percha containing amoxicillin was tested, and was shown to improve the gutta-percha’s ability to combat bacterial infections following treatment.
The findings, published online in ACS Nano in the paper, “Nanodiamond-Gutta Percha Composite Biomaterials for Root Canal Therapy,” hold promise as a way to deliver slow-release medicaments to filled canals, and also as a means of improving fracture resistance in endodontically treated teeth. “Validating this novel material in extracted teeth serves as a strong foundation for … clinical testing,” notes senior author Dean Ho, MS, PhD, a professor of oral biology and medicine and co-director of UCLA’s Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology. The team hopes to optimize the formulation and begin clinical trials within two years.