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Implants Have Added a Little Mussel

Implants Have Added a Little Mussel

As your family dentist in Sandy, Oregon, our team provides patients with the best dental care possible. Whether you need a routine exam and cleaning or a more complicated oral procedure such as implants, our dentists at Sandy Family Dentistry have the knowledge and experience needed to provide the high level of care you deserve.

Of course, providing the best patient care mean staying up-to-date with the latest advances in dentistry. While not all dental breakthroughs eventually make their way down to the patient, the more exciting revolutionary techniques that emerge the more effective and painless patient care becomes.

Dental implants use titanium due to its inherent strength and that it does not harm oral tissue. While titanium has a number of benefits when it comes to dental use, it does lack some of the beneficial properties of natural tissues like teeth and bone. Finding inspiration in the mussel, which possesses special proteins that allow it to attach itself very tightly to metallic surfaces, researchers at RIKEN have successfully attached a biologically active molecule to a surface made of titanium.

This breakthrough could lead the development of implants that are more biologically beneficial, according to researchers involved in the experiment. This latest work was based on earlier discoveries that mussel protein creates an incredibly tight bond to smooth surfaces like metals, ceramics, and rocks.

Unexpected Support

To begin their work, researchers thought it would be valuable to attempt using a variety of technique to attach a biologically active protein to a titanium surface like those used in dental implants.

By using a combination of recombinant DNA technology and treatment with tyrosinase, researchers were able to create a hybrid protein that contained active parts that allow this tight bond to develop. Tests found that the proteins were able to fold normally. Further experiments in cell cultures also showed that the bond still functioned naturally.

By incorporating the protein, researchers confirmed that the active molecule bound strongly to the titanium surface and remained affixed even when the metal was washed with saline with added phosphate. This molecule mimics the properties of naturally occurring mussel adhesive, which can remain fixed the metallic materials even underwater.

“We are very excited by this finding because the modification process is a universal one that could be used with other proteins. It could allow us to prepare new cell-growth enhancing materials with potential applications in cell culture systems and regenerative medicine,” said Yoshihiro Ito, lead researcher at the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science.

Researchers hope that by further examining other biometric properties of nature science can further develop new techniques that allow for us to live better, healthier lives.

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