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Study Reports Diamonds Could Potentially Help Regrow Teeth

Update Date: Sep 18, 2013 05:04 PM EDT

In a new study, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles used diamonds with the hopes of creating better and more efficient dental implants. Before any diamond connoisseurs are alarmed by the use of diamonds in making dental implants, the researchers explain that the diamonds they utilized were nanodiamonds. Nanodiamonds are the byproduct of conventional mining and refining operations. The researchers took these little leftover diamond pieces to study how they could help promote teeth growth.

For this study, the scientists from the UCLA School of Dentistry, the UCLA Department of Bioengineering, Northwestern University and the NanoCarbon Research Institute in Japan used these little soccer-shaped diamonds to find a way in promoting bone growth while curbing osteonecrosis, which is the break down of the bones due to reduced blood flow. Once osteonecrosis affects the jaw area, it disrupts dental implants, causing them to fall out or fail to work.

In order to reduce the cost of implants since people with ostenoencrosis would need to repair their implants relatively often, the research team headed by Dr. Dean Ho used the nanodiamonds as a way of providing protein so that the deterioration of the bone slows down extending the lifespan of the dental implants. During surgeries that repair bone growth, doctors use a sponge that can help administer proteins that promote growth. These surgeries are invasive. The experiment using the nanodiamonds to administer the protein would not be invasive at all. The researchers believe that the nanodiamonds could potentially be used to help teeth grow.

"We've conducted several comprehensive studies, in both cells and animal models, looking at the safety of the nanodiamond particles," explained Laura Moore, MD, Ph.D., the first author of the study. "Initial studies indicate that they are well tolerated, which further increased their potential in dental and bone repair applications."

Ho added, according to Medical Xpress, "Nanodiamonds are versatile platforms. Because they are useful for delivering such a broad range of therapies, nanodiamonds have the potential to impact several other facets of oral, maxillofacial and orthopedic surgery, as well as regenerative medicine."

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research.

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