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Posted: Mar 14, 2014

Dentistry and bioactive glass

(Nanowerk News) Bioactive glass is a highly biocompatible material because of its bioactivity, osteoconductivity – a scaffold’s ability to support cell attachment and subsequent bone matrix deposition and formation – and even osteoinductivity – a scaffold that encourages osteogenic precursor cells to differentiate into mature bone-forming cells.
Bioactive glasses – which are different from conventional glasses – are composed of calcium and phosphate which are present in a proportion that is similar to the bone hydroxyapatite. These glasses bond to the tissue and are biocompatible. That's why these materials have found a wide range of medical and dental applications and are currently used as bone grafts, scaffolds and coating material for dental implants.
Specifically for hard-tissue applications, such as the regeneration and repair of bones and teeth, several bioactive or bioinert materials have been used clinically. Silica-based bioglasses constitute the essential part of such bioactive materials, having already been utilized in numerous orthopedic and dental applications.
Researchers have even fabricated bioactive glass in nanofibrous form (read more: "Bioactive glass nanofibers as a next-generation biomaterial"). This material, which shows excellent bioactivity, is likely to open the door to the development of new nanostructured bone regeneration materials for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Bioglass in bone dentistry graft
Bioglass after healing. The white areas are the bioglass material and the surrounding tissue in this slide is primarily connective tissue.
Bioactive glasses have different families and each family has a different composition. Some classes of bioactive glasses, like Bioglass™ (45S5), are now being used intraorally as bone grafting material after gaining FDA approval
In various studies, researchers have shown that, in addition to remineralization, bioactive glasses have antibacterial effects ("Antibacterial effects of a bioactive glass paste on oral microorganisms") as they can raise the pH of aqueous solution ("Antibacterial activity of particulate Bioglass® against supra- and subgingival bacteria").
A review article ("Bioactive Glass: A Material for the Future") looks at various properties of bioactive glasses and their applications in dentistry and also reviews the changes that can be made in their composition according to a desired application.
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