Dentists may start covering teeth in growth-stimulating diamond dust

It looks like there’s a new candidate for most amazing super material. Dentists may soon start fighting bone loss by covering teeth in tiny nanodiamonds, this will make repairing teeth quicker, cheaper, and much less painful.

During jaw and tooth repair operations, dentists normally use invasive surgery to place a sponge full of bone-growth-stimulating proteins near the damaged area. And although effective, these surgeries tend to be expensive, time consuming, and like most invasive surgeries, can be painful. But that all might change soon thanks to a study led by Dr. Dean Ho, professor of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

The study found that nanodiamonds, which are byproducts of mining operations and invisible to the human eye, “bind rapidly to both bone morphogenetic protein and fibroblast growth factor,” both of which essentially encourage bone and cartilage to rebuild themselves. What’s more, these tiny microscopic diamonds are shaped like (four to five nanometer-long) footballs and have a relatively high surface area, so the proteins can be delivered over a longer period of time—not that getting them there in the first place will be a problem. All that is needed to deliver the benefits of these shiny tooth-savers is a simple injection or oral rinse. No invasive surgery required.

We look forward to following developments on this study and can see already the benefits to providing painless and high tech dental treatments of the future.