Over the past few years, scientists and engineers have become good at designing and engineering materials around the level of atoms or small groups of atoms. And because this technology involves performing tasks at such a minute scale, it’s called “nanotechnology”. Today, nanotechnology in orthodontists is gaining attention due to the immense benefits it offers for accurate treatment.
Here’s a Look at the Application of Nanotechnology in Orthodontics:
Nano-Coatings in Arch Wires and Brackets
A tooth sliding along an archwire causes friction between the bracket slot and archwire. It may make teeth difficult to move, increasing treatment time. Friction is prevented with the help of heavy forces. And wires can be coated with nanoparticles to make sliding of brackets on wires easy.
A recent study conducted aims at building biosensors and nano-kinetic devices that aid nanorobotic operation and locomotion. Nanorobots in orthodontics can be attached to cells to manipulate their movement. This helps in accelerating tooth movement by manipulating periodontal ligament, bone, gingival tissue, and cementum. The entire process of leveling and aligning teeth can speed up and patients can experience pain-free treatment, major benefit nanotechnology in orthodontics offers.
There’s a new material that ensures that the brackets stay firm on the teeth. This material helps to reduce friction of the brackets to orthodontic wires and maintains the transparency of the brackets. To allow proper tooth movement without any side effects, it is important to gauge the amount of forces needed to be applied on the teeth.
Shape Memory Polymers (SMP)
Shape memory polymers (SMPs) can memorize microscopic or equilibrium shape. It can then be controlled and adjusted to a temporary shape under pre-determined stress and temperature. They have the ability to immediately change from a temporary shape to their original shapes with adequate light, temperature, magnetic field, electric field, pH, ions or enzyme.
This relief to the original shape coexists with forces exerted to teeth, resulting in orthodontic movement. Once inside the mouth, these polymers are activated by the body’s temperature or photoactive nanoparticles activated by light.
Orthodontic appliances may disturb self-cleaning of teeth and lead to bigger oral health problems. It can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. To prevent the enamel from being affected, antimicrobial agents like Silver and Titanium dioxide are used in composites and glass ionomer cement.
Fabrication of Hollow Wires
Hollow wires are coated with composite nanoparticles. A polymer or textile fiber is coated with nanoparticles through electrospinning. After which, the fiber is removed to construct a hollow wire for orthodontic treatments.
Future Applications of Nanotechnology
A nanoindenter and atomic force microscope help to assess mechanical properties like elastic modulus, hardness, yield strength, scratch hardness, and fracture toughness.
Smart Brackets with Nanomechanical Sensors
Nanomechanical sensors can be created and included in the base of orthodontic brackets to give real-time feedback to about the orthodontic forces applied. This feedback helps an orthodontist in adjusting the applied force within a biological range.