June 2016 Crownicle Newsletter
New research reveals that silicon nitride – a ceramic material used in spinal implants – could lead to effective, new types of gum disease treatment. Using a number of techniques, such as pH microscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy, a multidisciplines team from Japan and the US observed the molecular-level interactions between P. gingivitis cells and different surfaces of silicon nitride.
One of the important effects that researchers noticed was how – after only 6 days of exposure – the chemical reactions with the ceramic materials degraded the nucleic acids in the bacterial cells, which, in turn, dramatically reduced their ability to produce essential proteins and fats.
One of the microscopy techniques revealed the formation of peroxynitrite with the bacterial cells. Peroxynitrite is an unstable compound that damages DNA, proteins and other important cell molecules.
The researchers note how by changing the surface chemistry of silicon nitride – either by chemical etching or thermal oxidation – they could influence peroxynitrite formation and affect bacteria in different ways. Although further studies are necessary, the findings do show that silicon nitride offers a new and promising way to treat gum disease.