Wouldn’t it be great if dental surgery could be performed with enzymes instead of knives?
Some promising steps have been made in that direction. The latest comes from the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel.
Researchers there have created a new surgical technology that uses an ‘enzymatic blade’ instead of a scalpel. They described the results of their work in a recent article in the journal ACS Nano. During orthodontic surgery the new technique eliminated pain and reduced tissue recovery time.
The study was led by Dr. Assaf Zinger and Assistant Professor Avi Schroeder. The technique is based on a novel use of enzymes and nanoparticles to achieve what is typically done with a blade.
In traditional orthodontic surgery, collagen fibers that connect underlying bone to teeth must be cut.
The new procedure softens the fibers instead of cutting them through the release of collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen. Before surgery, the collagenase is placed into liposomes, or manometric vessels. Packaged this way, the collagenase particles are inactive. When the operation begins, doctors apply an ointment to the target tooth, whereupon the collagenase begins to come out of the liposome and soften the collagen fibers. Various tests have been utilized to determine the exact amount of colleganase needed, and to maximize tissue repair.
In trials the scientists compared current standard orthodontic treatment with the new controlled-release system (in conjunction with braces). They found that the new technology lessens the time required for straightening teeth. This means that what now takes two years can be accomplished in a few months, with no surgery and no pain. Researchers predict the procedure may be ready for use on humans in about two years.