Using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), Dr. Tarak El-Bialy from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Dr. Jie Chen and Dr. Ying Tsui from the Faculty of Engineering at University of Alberta have created a miniaturised system-on-a-chip that offers a non-invasive and novel way to stimulate jaw growth and dental tissue healing.
“If the root is broken, the tooth can now be fixed,” said El-Bialy. “And because we can regrow the teeth root, a patient could have his own tooth rather than foreign objects in his mouth.”
The wireless design of the ultrasound transducer means the miniscule device will be able to fit inside a patient’s mouth while packed in biocompatible materials. The unit will be mounted on an orthodontic or “braces” bracket or even a plastic removable crown. The team also designed an energy sensor that will ensure the LIPUS power is reaching the target area of the teeth roots within the bone. Currently, the research team is finishing the system-on-a-chip and hopes to complete the miniaturised device by next year.
El-Bialy first discovered new dental tissue was being formed after using ultrasound on rabbits. In one study El Bialy used ultrasound on one rabbit incisor and left the other incisor alone. After seeing the surprising positive results, he moved onto humans and found similar results. He has also shown that LIPUS can improve jaw growth in cases with hemifacial microsomia, a congenital syndrome where one side of the child’s jaw or face is underdeveloped compared to the other, normal, side. These patients usually undergo many surgeries to improve their facial appearance.
“After proving it worked, we looked at creating a smaller ultrasound carrier where we can take the patient out as a variable,” said El-Bialy. “Before this, a patient has to hold the ultrasound for 20 minutes a day for a year and that is a lot to ask.”
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Alberta