A recent scientific discovery could have big implications for dental practices around the world. This discovery was made by Dr. Carla Meledandri of the University of Otago’s Chemistry department. In fact, the discovery was so significant that Dr. Meledandri received the 2017 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize.
Dr. Meledandri’s discovery was that silver nanoparticles can be used to prevent and treat dental disease without staining the teeth. Nanoparticles are incredibly small parts of a substance. On the nanoscale, these particles look, react, and act differently than they do on a larger scale. Dr. Meledandri has been studying these nanoparticles to better understand how they interact with their surroundings and how they can be used to benefit the world. In addition to discovering their ability to treat and prevent dental disease, Dr. Meledandri found that these nanoparticles may be able to help to mitigate global warming by capturing carbon dioxide and removing it from the atmosphere. These small particles really can make a big impact on the world!
If silver nanoparticles become largely used to treat the bacterial source of tooth decay and infection, the prevalence of antibiotics used to treat this bacteria could be decreased. This could be a great step forward because, although antibiotic treatment often works quite well, it does pose the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The silver nanoparticles, however, use a different mechanism to treat bacteria. This mechanism makes it impossible for bacteria to ever grow resistant to it.
At The Dental Center, we’re looking forward to seeing how these silver nanoparticles can benefit dental patients in our office and around the world. We’re always inspired to see the innovations that come from exploring our world and investigating new avenues of treatment. We can’t wait to see what new discoveries will improve dental treatment soon!