A chewing gum to monitor dental implants

A chewing gum to monitor dental implants

December 18, 2014
in Category: health
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A chewing gum to monitor dental implants

Peri-implant disease poses a threat to the successful outcome of dental implants. European researchers are constructing a novel system to detect peri-implant complications early on to ensure implant reliability and performance.

Often after dental implantation, inflammatory lesions appear around the implant fixtures. Peri-implant complications are typically recognised only after clinical signs appear and require harsh treatment modalities.

The aim of the EU-funded 'Sensing peri-implant disease' (STEP) project is to develop a novel assay that can detect biomarkers associated with early stages of peri-implant disease. Project efforts are concentrated on matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8), a biomarker indicative of connective tissue degradation, which occurs just before the onset of peri-implant disease.

The 'monitoring device' for the proposed system is the human tongue. The diagnostic approach is deploying a molecule that will react with MMP-8 and is coupled to a flavouring substance, all formulated into a chewing gum. In the presence of MMP-8, the flavouring substance is released and the patient can self-monitor a gustatory change linked to the peri-implant disease status.

Currently researchers are screening a library of nearly 250 molecules for biomarker sensitivity. They are also performing a clinical trial to correlate the measured biomarker in human fluids at different stages of periimplantitis. Preliminary results indicate a strong correlation of disease stage to biomarker concentration, validating the approach of this novel assay.

To provide evidence that the biomarker levels are due to inflammation in transmucosal dental implants, partners are performing experiments in a pre-clinical model of mini-pigs. Additional analyses of the peri-implant hard and soft tissue will reveal the histological changes associated with the early stages of peri-implant disease.

The STEP self-checking approach is expected to improve prompt diagnosis and thereby enrich current treatment modalities. The system could find application in the diagnosis of device-related complications and infections.

Provided by Cordis

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