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Nanotechnology: Redefining Oral Surgery

Going to the dentist or an orthodontist usually scares most patients, and this begins before the exam begins. Coupled with the fear of undergoing painful oral surgery, many people will avoid these visits at all costs. Now, a team of researchers reports that preclinical studies of ACS nanotechnology have demonstrated that using specialized nanotechnology can reduce pain and recovery time.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 5 million people are undergoing orthodontics every year in the United States. In some cases, the degree of dislocation of the teeth requires that the collagen fibers under the gums be cut before the dental mouthpiece is worn on the teeth. But patients usually choose not to perform surgery because it is invasive and can be painful. Recently scientists turned to nanotechnology to target treatment to specific sites. For example, previous dental instruments studies have shown some success with the use of liposomes, which are nano-sized empty vesicles, for drug delivery. Collagenase may potentially reshape the bone connecting the tooth to the oral cavity without the use of a scalpel, but so far, delivering the enzyme with liposomes has been challenging.

The team developed liposome nanoparticles containing collagenase and tested them in rats. When liposomes are placed under the gums, collagenase diffuses out of the particles and is activated by the naturally occurring calcium in the mouth. Collagen protease weakens the collagen fibers, making it easier to move the teeth with a braces later. Compared with traditional surgery, collagenase treatment helps to increase the speed of tooth movement by a factor of three. As humans usually do, all mice lose some weight after surgery. But unlike other rats, those rats treated with collagenase quickly rebounded to a normal healthy weight, and the researchers said that these weights indicate that they have no pain.

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