Nanotechnology until now has been seen only in science fiction stories and movies, but the upcoming future is now promising us to turn this fiction into reality.
Researchers and scientists are working on devices that can bring revolutionary changes in dentistry via nanorobotics — a technology which creates robotic or machines on the brink of microscopic scale of nanometers.
Nano dentistry will result in revolutionary diagnostic and treatment outcomes for patients seeking dental care. It will take us into a unique world of minute dentistry to enhance complete oral health and hygiene by employing nanomaterials, biotechnology, tissue engineering, & ultimately dental nanorobotics, advancing for a better future.
This post will present some of the future applications of nanorobotics in dentistry.
In nanoanaesthesia, the dentist will instil a colloidal suspension containing millions of active analgesic micronsized dental nanorobot ‘particles’ on the patient’s gingivae. Once it comes in contact with the crown’s surface or mucosa, the ambling nanorobots reach dentin by migrating into the gingival sulcus and pass painlessly through the lamina propria or a 1-3µ thick layer of loose tissue at the CEJ. They enter the dentinal tubules up to 1-4 depth and move towards the pulp, guided by a combination of chemical gradients, temperature differentials, and positional navigation under nanocomputer control once they reach the dentin. Nanorobots migrate from the tooth surface to the pulp in less than 100 seconds.
Once installed in the pulp, they establish control over nerve impulse, and analgesic nanorobots commanded by the dentist turn off all sensitivity in any tooth requiring treatment. The dental professional presses the handheld control, the selected tooth is anesthetized. Following the procedure, the dentist instructs the nanorobots to reactivate all sensations and emit them from the tooth.
2. Dentine tubule blocking to alleviate hypersensitivity
One of the most common clinical problems is dental hypersensitivity. Changes in the pressure transmitted hydrodynamically to the pulp cause hypersensitivity. Hypertensive teeth have twice the diameter and eight times the surface density of non-sensitive teeth’ dentinal tubules. These characteristics have led to nanorobots that use local, native materials to selectively and precisely occlude tubules in minutes, providing patients with a quick and permanent cure.
3. Bone replacement materials
Nanotechnology aims to mimic the natural structure of bone for orthopaedic and dental applications, with nano bone development being a particular focus. The microstructure of nanocrystals is loose, with nanopores positioned between the crystals. Because silica molecules are added to the pores’ surfaces, they are modified to adsorb protein.
4. Nanorobotic dentifrices (dentifrobots)
Dentifrobots will be designed so that subocclusal – dwelling nanorobotic dentifrice can be delivered by mouthwash or toothpaste. It will allow at least one daily invigilation of all supragingival and subgingival surfaces. These dentifrobots will debride the calculus by metabolizing trapped organic matter into harmless and odorless vapors. Because bacterial putrefaction is the central metabolic process in oral malodor, Dentifrobots will provide a continuous barrier to halitosis. If such precise dental care is available daily at a young age, traditional caries and gum disease will eventually decline.
In orthodontics, nanorobots will allow for painless tooth rotation, vertical repositioning, and tissue repair. Nanotechnology is developing a new stainless-steel wire that will combine ultra-high strength with good deformability, corrosion resistance, and surface finish. Orthodontic nanorobots may soon be able to directly manipulate periodontal tissues, allowing for rapid and painless tooth straightening, rotation, and vertical repositioning in minutes to hours.
Microfillers have long been used in composites and microcore materials. Nanocomposite particles are small enough to be synthesized at the molecular level, even though the filler particle size cannot be reduced below 100 nm. These nanoparticles improve the compressive strength of the material. Submicron-sized filler particles, such as zirconium dioxide, are also required to improve polishability and aesthetics.
However, when this particle size is used, the material may be more brittle and prone to cracking or fracturing after curing. Hybrid composites and composites with a wider distribution of filler particles have been developed to address this issue. These composites have a better strength-to-aesthetics ratio, but they are weak due to nanoparticle clumping or agglomeration.
This can be solved by using a proprietary coating process during particle manufacturing, eliminating weak spots, and ensuring consistent strength throughout the core build-up. Furthermore, the uniform distribution of nanoparticles produces a smoother, creamier consistency and improves flow characteristics. These properties contribute to dentin-like cutability and polishability once the material has been hardened.
7. Major tooth repair/nanotissue engineering
The replacement of the whole tooth, including the cellular and mineral components, is called complete dentition replacement. This therapy is possible through nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and tissue engineering. In a complete dentition replacement, researchers recently recreated dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the human body, using highly organized microarchitectural units of nanorods.