Nanodentistry – Dentistry is also facing a major revolution in the wake of this technology having already been targeted with novel nano-materials.
New treatment opportunities in nanodentistry may include:
(1) Local Anesthesia in Dentistry: One of the most common procedures in dentistry is the injection of local anesthetic, involving long waits and varying degrees of efficacy, patient discomfort, and complications. To induce oral anesthesia in the era of nanodentistry, a colloidal suspension containing millions of active analgesic micron-size dental nanorobots will be instilled on the patient’s gingiva.
After contacting the surface of the crown or mucosa, the ambulating nanorobots reach the dentin by migrating into the gingival sulcus and passing painlessly through the lanina propria or the 1-3 micron thick layer of loose tissue at the cemento-dentinal junction.
Upon reaching the dentin in nanodentistry, the nanorobots enter 1-4 micron diameter dentinal tubule holes and proceed towards the pulp, guided by a combination of chemical gradients, temperature differentials, and even positional navigation, all under onboard nanocomputer control.
There are many pathways to choose from as Dentinal tubule number density is typically between 22,000 mni2 to 48,000 mni2 in different regions of the tooth. In nanodentistry, Assuming a 10 mm total path length from tooth surface to pulp, a very modest nanorobot travel speed of 100 microns/sec completes the journey into the pulp chamber in less than 100 sec.
The presence of natural cells that are constantly in motion around and inside the teeth — including human gingival and pulpal fibroblasts, cementoblasts at the cemento-dentinal junction, bacteria inside dentinal tubules, odontoblasts near the pulp! dentin border, and lymphocytes within the pulp or lamina propria — suggests that such journeys should be feasible.
Once installed in the pulp and having established control over nerve impulse traffic, the analgesic dental nanorobots may be commanded by the dentist to shut down all sensitivity in any particular tooth that may require treatment. When the dentist presses the icon for the desired tooth on the handheld controller display, the selected tooth immediately numbs (or conversely later, upon command, awakens).
After the oral procedures are completed in Nanodentistry, the dentist orders the nanorobots (via the same acoustic data links) to restore all sensation, to relinquish control of nerve traffic, and to come out from the tooth by similar pathways used for inlet, followed by aspiration.
Nanorobotic analgesics will offer greater patient comfort and reduced anxiety, no needles, greater selectivity and controllability of analgesic effect, fast and completely reversible switchable action, and avoidance of most side effects and complications.
(2) Tooth Repair in Nanodentistry: Nanodental techniques for major tooth repair may evolve through several stages of technological development, first using genetic engineering, tissue engineering and tissue regeneration, and later growing whole new teeth in vitro and installing them.
Ultimately, the nanorobotic manufacture and installation of a biologically autologous whole replacement tooth including both mineral and cellular components, e.g., complete dentition replacement therapy — should become feasible to undertake within the time and economic constraints of an ordinary office visit, using an affordable desktop manufacturing facility in the dentist’s office.
(3) Tooth Renaturalization in Nanodentistry: Dentition renaturalization procedures may provide perfect methods for the partially damaged teeth remanufactured with native biological materials, without the use of some external filling material. So, full coronal renaturalizations will stop use of all fillings, crowns, etc. for restoration of damaged teeth.
(4) Hypersensitivity Cure in Nanodentistry: Dentin hypersensitivity is caused by changes in pressure transmitted hydro dynamically to the pulp by dentinal tubules. The reconstructive dental nanorobots could selectively and precisely occlude selected tubules in minutes, using native biological materials, offering patients a quick and permanent cure.
(5) Orthodontic Nanorobots in Nanodentistry: Orthodontic nanorobots could directly manipulate the periodontal tissues including gingiva, periodontal ligament, cementum and alveolar bone, allowing rapid painless tooth straightening, rotating, and vertical repositioning in minutes to hours, in contrast to current braces techniques that require months or years to proceed to completion.
(6) Dental Durability and Cosmetics in Nanodentistry: Tooth durability and appearance may be improved by replacing upper enamel layers with covalently-bonded artificial biocompatible materials, which may have higher hardness and strength than natural enamel.
(7) Nanorobotic Toothpastes and Mouth-washes in Nanodentistry: Nanorobotic toothpaste and mouthwashes could scan all supragingival and subgingival surfaces, metabolizing trapped organic matter into harmless and odorless vapors and performing continuous calculus debridement. It could identify and destroy pathogenic bacteria residing in the plaque and elsewhere, while allowing the more than 500 species of harmless oral microflora to flourish in a healthy ecosystem.
The visions described above may sound unlikely, implausible, or even heretic. Yet, the theoretical and applied research to turn them into reality is progressing rapidly. Nanotechnological developments are expected to accelerate significantly through new initiatives.
Nanodentistry faces many significant challenges in bringing its promises to fruition. Basic engineering problems run the gamut from the precise positioning and assembly of molecular- scale parts, to economical nanorobot mass production techniques, to biocompatibility and the simultaneous coordination of the activities of large numbers of independent micron-scale robots.
There are larger social issues of public acceptance, ethics, regulation and human safety that must be addressed before molecular nanotechnology can enter the modem medical armamentarium especially the Nanodentistry.