• May 18, 2016
titanium dioxide nanotubes

Dental implants posts are usually made of titanium, surgically placed into the jawbone, and topped with artificial teeth. While most dental implants are successful, a small percentage fail or must be removed, either due to infection and/or separation of the implant from the bone, or lack of osseo integration. Addtionally, replacing a failed implant can be difficult and thus lead to more patient inconvenience. 

Cortino-Sukotjo.jpgDr. Cortino Sukotjo, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), College of Dentistry, is leading research on a nano-material that can combat infection, improve healing, and help dental implants last longer. His work has led to a dental implant surface made from titanium dioxide nanotubes. These nanotubes are very small - just nanometers across (a nanometer = one/billionth of a meter; a sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick!). 

Tests have shown that the nanotubes have potential to kill bacterial growth and also encouraged bone cell growth. The study also demonstrated that bone cells grow more vigorously and adhere better to titanium coated with TiO2 nanotubes than to conventional titanium surfaces.

The nanotubes can also serve as a drug delivery system. Shokuhfar's team, in collaboration with Alexander Yarin, a professor in UIC's Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, loaded TiO2 nanotubes with the anti-inflammatory drug sodium naproxen and demonstrated that it could be released gradually after implant surgery.

The TiO2 nanotubes also provide better cosmetics because they are transparent.




  • DentistryIQ: Dental implants and titanium dioxide nanotubes
  • Michigan Technological University (2013, September 23). Smile! New nanotube surface promises dental implants that heal faster and fight infection. Science Daily. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  • Tolou Shokuhfar, Suman Sinha-Ray, Cortino Sukotjo, Alexander L. Yarin. Intercalation of anti-inflammatory drug molecules within TiO2 nanotubes. RSC Advances, 2013; 3 (38): 17380 -17386. DOI: 10.1039/C3RA42173B.
  • T. Shokuhfar, J.Y. Chang, C.K. Choi, C. Friedrich. Biophysical Evaluation of Osteoblasts on TiO2 Nanotubes.Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, Dec 2011, Under Revision.

The paper, "Survivability of TiO2 Nanotubes on the Surface of Bone Screws," has been accepted by the journal, Surface Innovations. It describes work showing that specially treated TiO2 nanotubes on the surface of orthopedic bone screws survive insertion and removal in bone simulant material.




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