LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Infections after root canal procedures often lead to patients losing a tooth despite the best efforts of their dentist.
In a new study, researchers found that adding antibiotic-loaded nanodiamonds to gutta percha, the substance used to fill teeth during the procedure, made fillings more rigid and prevented the post surgical infections.
Root canal is meant to help dental patients' teeth survive infections of pulp, the inner part of a tooth with blood vessels and nerve tissue. The infected pulp is removed and the space is filled with gutta percha, which often leaves space in the tooth where infection can regrow and lead to loss of the tooth.
"The nanodiamond-enhanced gutta percha combines many desirable properties into a single platform, including vastly improved mechanical characteristics and the ability to combat bacterial infection following a root canal," said Dong-Keun Lee, a postdoctoral researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, in a press release.
Researchers first combined nanodiamonds with gutta percha, filling gaps with it in teeth from human donors. They found it was at least as rigid and filled the space as well as traditional gutta percha.
When testing gutta percha that had been combined with nanodiamonds and the antibiotic amoxicillin, which is often given to patients before they have a root canal, the researchers found in lab tests that the combination prevented bacterial growth.
The study is published in ACS Nano.