Scientists have developed nanobots for the treatment of dental canals

(ORDO NEWS) — Tiny devices, guided by an external magnetic field, could kill bacteria that grow deep in the tubules of the teeth and do not respond well to conventional treatments.

Each tooth root has a narrow internal canal, from which even thinner tubules branch off: through them, nerves and vessels approach the tooth. Tooth damage can extend to them, and root canal treatment is one of the most common dental procedures.

To do this, the specialist removes the damaged part of the pulp, the soft inner tissue, and usually fills the cavity with antibiotics or other drugs to destroy the microbes that are there.

However, the medicine is not always able to penetrate into all the narrow tubules, moreover, bacteria resistant to the selected drug may be in the tooth.

Therefore, the effectiveness of such treatment is largely a matter of chance, and often it is not possible to save the tooth. Alternative methods, such as laser canal treatment, are far from ideal.

Perhaps, microscopic devices created by scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) together with the startup Theranautilus will be able to really cope with the treatment of dental tubules.

The new development is described in an article by Ambarish Ghosh (Ambarish Ghosh) and his co-authors, published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials .

The authors obtained tiny helical structures made of silicon dioxide, covered with the thinnest layer of iron. The metal surface allows them to respond to an external magnetic field, and the spiral shape allows them to move under this force, literally twisting into the medium.

Scientists have confirmed this by injecting such “nanobots” into samples of diseased teeth (removed from real patients) and following their movements under a microscope.

Scientists have developed nanobots for the treatment of dental canals 2
On the left, “nanobots” enter the tubule of the tooth. In the center below – a picture of one of them inside the tubule, at the top – the same image schematically. On the right is a photomicrograph taken during the destruction of microbes by heat: live bacterial cells are stained green, dead bacteria are red

Miniature spiral devices were able to penetrate even the deepest and narrowest branches of the dental tubules, to a depth of up to 2000 micrometers.

At the same time, by varying the frequency of oscillations of the magnetic field, it is possible to make the iron on the surface of the “nanobots” warm up, killing the bacterial cells with which they come into contact, and without harming the tissues of the tooth itself. In addition, the authors tested this approach in mice, confirming its performance.

Now, the Theranautilus startup is moving on to creating a complete system for treating people. In particular, engineers plan to create a device that will be placed in the patient’s mouth and will allow doctors to bring “nanobots” into the cavity of the desired tooth and then control them.

“We are already very close to clinical trials of this technology, although three years ago it seemed like complete fantasy,” said Ambarish Ghose.

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