One million dental implants are inserted every year in Germany, and often they need to be replaced due to issues such as tissue infections caused by bacteria.
In the future, these infections will be prevented thanks to a new plasma implant coating that kills pathogens using silver ions.
Bacterial infection of a dental implant is a dreaded complication, as it carries with it a high risk of jawbone degeneration.
Implanting an artificial dental root sets off a race between infectious pathogens and the body's own cellular defenses.
If the bacteria win, they form a biological film over the titanium to protect themselves from anti-biotics.
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Once the implant is colonized by germs, the result is an inflammatory reaction, which can result in bone atrophy.
To lower the risk of infection and improve the long-term effectiveness of the implant, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen have developed a new type of implant coating in cooperation with industry partners.