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Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry

Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry

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Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry

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1,137 pages
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Dec 31, 2012


New nanomaterials are leading to a range of emerging dental treatments that utilize more biomimetic materials that more closely duplicate natural tooth structure (or bone, in the case of implants).

This book brings together an international team of experts from the fields of materials science, nanotechnology and dentistry, to explain these new materials and their applications for the restoration, fixation, replacement, or regeneration of hard and soft tissues in and about the oral cavity and craniofacial region.

The main topics covered include applications in dental specialties (Orthodontics, Endodontics, Pediatric dentistry, Periodontics, Prosthodontics and Implant dentistry), salivary diagnostics using bioMEMS/NEMS systems, nanochips for oral cancer diagnosis, biomimetic nanomaterials, and nanotechnology for tooth repair and regeneration.

The editors' previous book, Emerging Nanotechnologies in Dentistry focused on the fabrication/manufacturing processes of materials and dentistry applications. This second book complements the first covers with coverage of the range of nanomaterials available today in clinical dentistry, explaining the innovative techniques and applications in all of the main clinical dental specialties.

Nanobiomaterial engineers, biomedical researchers, biomedical engineers and dental/oral pre-clinical and clinical researchers will find the comprehensive coverage essential for working with nanotechnologies and materials in both clinical and research settings.

  • Book prepared by an interdisciplinary and international group of scientists and practitioners in the fields of nanomaterials, dental implants, medical devices and clinical practice
  • Comprehensive professional reference for the subject covering materials fabrication and use of materials for all major diagnostic and therapeutic dental applications – repair, restoration, regeneration, implants and prevention
  • Complements the editors' previous book on nanotechnology applications for dentistry
Dec 31, 2012

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Nanobiomaterials in Clinical Dentistry - Elsevier Science



Chapter 1 Introduction to Nanotechnology

Chapter 2 Nanotechnology and Nanobiomaterials in Dentistry

Chapter 1

Introduction to Nanotechnology

Waqar Ahmeda, Abdelbary Elhissia and Karthikeyan Subramanib, aInstitute of Nanotechnology and Bioengineering, School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, bDepartment of Orthodontics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

Chapter Outline

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Approaches to nanotechnology

1.3 Nanotechnology on a large scale and volume

1.3.1 Top-down approach

1.3.2 Bottom-up approach

1.4 Applications

1.5 Future considerations

1.6 Nanobiomaterials in clinical dentistry


1.1 Introduction

Nanotechnology has been around since the beginning of time. Nature routinely has always used nanotechnology to synthesize molecular structures in the body such as enzymes, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids which form components of cellular structures. However, the discovery of nanotechnology has been widely attributed to the American Physicist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Phillips Feynman [1] who presented a paper called

There is plenty of room at the bottom

in December 29, 1959, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at California Institute of Technology. Feynman talked about the storage of information on a very small scale, writing and reading in atoms, about miniaturization of the computer, building tiny machines, tiny factories, and electronic circuits with atoms. He stated that In the year 2000, when they look back at this age, they will wonder why it was not until the year 1960 that anybody began seriously to move in this direction. However, he did not specifically use the term nanotechnology. The first use of the word nanotechnology has been attributed to Tanaguchi [2] in a paper published in 1974 On the basic concept of nanotechnology. Dr. K. Eric Drexler an MIT graduate later took Feynman’s concept of a billion tiny factories and added the idea that they could make more copies of themselves, via computer control instead of control by a human operator, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, to popularize the potential of nanotechnology.

Several definitions of nanotechnology have since then evolved. For example, the dictionary [3] definition states that nanotechnology is the art of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices. Other definitions include the US government [4] which state that Nanotechnology is research and technology development at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular level in the length scale of approximately 1–100 nm range, to provide a fundamental understanding of phenomena and materials at the nanoscale and to create and use structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size. The Japanese [5] have come up with a more focused and succinct definition. True Nano: as nanotechnology which is expected to cause scientific or technological quantum jumps, or to provide great industrial applications by using phenomena and characteristics peculiar in nanolevel.

It is evident regardless of the definition used that the properties of matter are controlled at a scale between 1 and 100 nm. For example, chemical properties take advantage of large surface to volume ratio for catalysis, interfacial and surface chemistry is important in many applications. Mechanical properties involve improved strength hardness in lightweight nanocomposites and nanomaterials, altered bending, compression properties, and nanomechanics of molecular structures. Optical properties involve absorption and fluorescence of nanocrystals, single photon phenomena, and photonic band gap engineering. Fluidic properties give rise to enhanced flow using nanoparticles and nanoscale adsorbed films are also important. Thermal properties give increased thermoelectric performance of nanoscale materials, and interfacial thermal resistance is important.

1.2 Approaches to nanotechnology

Numerous approaches have been utilized successfully in nanotechnology and as the technology develops further, approaches may emerge. The approaches employed thus far have generally been dictated by the technology available and the background experience of the researchers involved. Nanotechnology is a truly multidisciplinary field involving chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, electronics, and social sciences, which need to be integrated together in order to generate the next level of development in nanotechnology. Fuel cells, mechanically stronger materials, nanobiological devices, molecular electronics, quantum devices, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), etc. have been made using nanotechnology. Even social scientists are debating ethical use of nanotechnology.

The top-down approach involves fabrication of device structures via monolithic processing on the nanoscale and has been used with spectacular success in the semiconductor devices used in consumer electronics. The bottom-up approach involves the fabrication of device structures via systematic assembly of atoms, molecules, or other basic units of matter. This is the approach nature uses to repair cells, tissues, and organ systems in living things and indeed for life processes such as protein synthesis. Tools are evolving which will give scientists more control over the synthesis and characterization of novel nanostructures yielding a range of new products in the near future.

1.3 Nanotechnology on a large scale and volume

Nanotechnology is being researched extensively internationally, and governments and research organizations are spending large amounts of money and human resources on nanotechnology. This has generated interesting scientific output and potential commercial applications, some of which have been translated into products produced on a large scale. However, in order to realize commercial benefits far more from lab-scale applications need to be commercialized, and for that to happen nanotechnology needs to enter the realm of nanomanufacturing. This involves using the technologies available to produce products on a large scale, which is economically viable. A nanomanufacturing technology should be:

• capable of producing components with nanometer precision,

• able to create systems from these components,

• able to produce many systems simultaneously,

• able to structure in three dimensions,

• cost-effective.

1.3.1 Top-down approach

The most successful industry utilizing the top-down approach is the electronics industry. This industry is utilizing techniques involving a range of technologies such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD), lithography (photolithography, electron beam, and X-ray lithography), wet and plasma etching to generate functional structures at the micro- and nanoscale (Figure 1.1). Evolution and development of these technologies have allowed the emergence of numerous electronic products and devices that have enhanced the quality of life throughout the world. The feature sizes have shrunk continuously from about 75 µm to below 100 nm. This has been achieved by improvements in deposition technology and more importantly due to the development of lithographic techniques and equipment such as X-ray lithography and electron beam lithography.

Figure 1.1 A typical process sequence employed in the electronics industry to generate functional devices at the micro- and nanoscale [6] .

Techniques such as electron beam lithography, X-ray lithography, and ion beam lithography, all have advantages in terms of resolution achieved; however, there are disadvantages associated with cost, optics, and detrimental effects on the substrate. These methods are currently under investigation to improve upon current lithographic processes used in the integrated circuits (IC) industry. With continuous developments in these technologies, it is highly likely that the transition from microtechnology to nanotechnology will generate a whole new generation of exciting products and features.

A demonstration of how several techniques can be combined together to form a nano wine glass (Figure 1.2). In this example, a focused ion beam and CVD have been employed to produce this striking nanostructure.

Figure 1.2 Demonstration of three-dimensional nanostructure fabrication [7] .

The top-down approach is being used to coat various coatings to give improved functionality. For example, vascular stents are being coated using CVD technology with ultrathin diamond-like carbon coatings in order to improve biocompatibility and blood flow (Figure 1.3). Graded a-SixCy:H interfacial layers results in greatly reduced cracking and enhanced adhesion.

Figure 1.3 Examples of stents coated with diamond-like carbon using plasma enhanced CVD. (Okpalugo, private communication, 2007)

1.3.2 Bottom-up approach

The bottom-up approach involves making nanostructures and devices by arranging atom by atom. The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) has been used to build nanosized atomic features such as the letters IBM written using xenon atoms on nickel [8] (Figure 1.4). While this is beautiful and exciting, it remains that the experiment was carried out under carefully controlled conditions (i.e., liquid helium cooling, high vacuum), and it took something like 24 h to get the letters right. Also the atoms are not bonded to the surface just adsorbed and a small change in temperature or pressure will dislodge them. Since this demonstration, significant advances have been made in nanomanufacturing.

Figure 1.4 Positioning single atoms with an STM [8] .

The discovery of the STM’s ability to image variations in the density distribution of surface state electrons created in the artists a compulsion to have complete control of not only the atomic landscape, but also the electronic landscape [9]. Here they have positioned 48 iron atoms into a circular ring in order to corral some surface state electrons and force them into quantum states of the circular structure (Figure 1.5). The ripples in the ring of atoms are the density distribution of a particular set of quantum states of the corral. The artists were delighted to discover that they could predict what goes on in the corral by solving the classic eigenvalue problem in quantum mechanics—a particle in a hard-wall box.

Figure 1.5 Confinement of electrons to quantum corrals on a metal surface [8] .

Probably the most publicized material in recent years has been CNTs. CNTs, long, thin cylinders of carbon, were discovered in 1991 by S. Iijima. These are large macromolecules that are unique for their size, shape, and remarkable physical properties. They can be thought of as a sheet of graphite (a hexagonal lattice of carbon) rolled into a cylinder. These intriguing structures have sparked much excitement in recent years and a large amount of research has been dedicated to their understanding. Currently, the physical properties are still being discovered and disputed. What makes it so difficult is that nanotubes have a very broad range of electronic, thermal, and structural properties that change depending on the different kinds of nanotube (defined by its diameter, length, and chirality, or twist). To make things more interesting, besides having a single cylindrical wall (SWNTs), nanotubes can have multiple walls (MWNTs) cylinders inside the other cylinders.

Bower et al. [10] have grown vertically aligned CNTs using microwave plasma enhanced CVD system using a thin film cobalt catalyst at 825°C (Figure 1.6). The chamber pressure used was 20 Torr. The plasma was generated using hydrogen which was replaced completely with ammonia and acetylene at a total flow rate of 200 sccm.

Figure 1.6 MWNTs with a diameter of 30 nm and length of 12 µm have been formed within 2 min [10] .

Lithographic methods are important for micro- and nanofabrication. Lithography: drawing or writing on kind of yellow salty limestone so that impressions in ink can be taken and in the Oxford Dictionary the word Lithos comes from Greek for stone. In micro- and nanofabrication we mean pattern transfer. Due to limitations in current (and future) photolithographic processes, there is a challenge to develop novel lithographic processes with better resolution for smaller features. One such development is that of Dip-pen nanolithography (DPN). Dip-pen technology in which ink on a pointed object is transported to a surface via capillary forces is approximately 4000 years old. The difference with DPN is that the pointed object has a tip which has been sharpened to a few atoms across in some cases. DPN is a scanning probe nanopatterning technique in which an AFM tip is used to deliver molecules to a surface via a solvent meniscus, which naturally forms in the ambient atmosphere. It is a direct-write technique and is reported to give high-resolution patterning capabilities for a number of molecular and biomolecular inks on a variety of substrates, such as metals, semiconductors, and monolayer functionalized surfaces.

DPN allows one to precisely pattern multiple patterns with good registration. It is both a fabrication and imaging tool, as the patterned areas can be imaged with clean or ink-coated tips. The ability to achieve precise alignment of multiple patterns is an additional advantage earned by using an AFM tip to write as well as read nanoscopic features on a surface. These attributes make DPN a valuable tool for studying fundamental issues in colloid chemistry, surface science, and nanotechnology. For instance, diffusion and capillarity on a surface at the nanometer level, organization and crystallization of particles onto chemical or biomolecular templates, monolayer etching resists for semiconductors, and nanometer-sized tethered polymer structures can be investigated using this technique. In order to create stable nanostructures, it is beneficial to use molecules that can anchor themselves to the substrate via chemisorption or electrostatic interactions. When alkane thiols are patterned on a gold substrate, a monolayer is formed in which the thiol head groups form relatively strong bonds to the gold and the alkane chains extend roughly perpendicular to surface. Creating nanostructures using DPN is a single step process which does not require the use of resists. Using a conventional atomic force microscope (AFM), DPN has been reported to achieve ultrahigh-resolution features with line widths as small as 10–15 nm with approximately 5 nm spatial resolution. For nanotechnological applications, it is important not only to pattern molecules in high resolution, but also to functionalize surfaces with patterns of two or more components (Figure 1.7).

Figure 1.7 Some of the potential applications of DPN. (Byrne, private communication, 2006)

Figure 1.8 shows the basic concept of nanomanufacturing. Individual atoms, which are given in the periodic table, form the basis of nanomanufacturing. These can be assembled into molecules and various structures using various methods including directed self-assembly and templating, and may be positioned appropriately depending on the final requirements. Further along the devices architecture, integration, in situ processing may be employed culminating in nanosystems, molecular devices, etc.

Figure 1.8 Summary of nanotechnology [11] .

1.4 Applications

Over the years, developments in dentistry have made many dental treatment procedures fast, reliable, safe, and much less painful. New technologies such as nanotechnology, dental implantology, cosmetic surgery, use of lasers, and digital dentistry have had great impact on dental treatment methodologies and recovery time. Even though the concept of nanotechnology has always existed, its discovery is attributed to Richard Feynman who won the Nobel Prize in 1959 for his theories regarding nanosized devices. In the field of medicine, nanotechnology has been applied in diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases. Nanotechnology offers considerable scope in dentistry to improve dental treatment, care and prevention of oral diseases. The following chapters in this book discuss about the recent developments in this interdisciplinary field bridging nanotechnology and dentistry.

Nanotechnology has been in dentistry for tooth sealants and fillers that use nanosized particles to improve their strength, luster, and resist wear. The application of nanoparticles in dental materials and their synthesis has been discussed in the next chapter. Antimicrobial nanoparticles in restorative composite materials are being used to prevent dental caries. For example, silver particles as antibacterial agents when used in fillers and toothpastes can retard bacterial growth and reduce tooth decay. It is envisaged that in the longer term, biomimetic approaches and nanotechnology will be used to repair and rebuild damaged enamel. Composite materials are becoming popular due to their esthetic appearance and superior wear properties designed to replicate the properties of enamel. The properties of these materials such as compressive strength, material flow, tensile strength, and flexural strength have been improved using nanotechnology. Microfill composites are made using the top-down approach to nanotechnology where materials such as ceramics, quartz, and glasses start off as bulk materials and then they are ground into particle sizes below 100 nm. However, nanocomposites are made using a bottom-up approach where atoms and molecules combine to produce nanoparticles much smaller than those produced by the first approach.

Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems have been widely used in targeted treatment of various forms of cancer. For example, liposomes can be used for drug delivery in oral cancer and asthma applications. The basic structures of liposomes are shown in Figure 1.9.

Figure 1.9 Types of liposomes based on microscopic morphology. Liposomes bilayers (lamella) are made of phospholipid molecules each having a cylindrical geometry. MLV=multilamellar liposome/vesicle; LUV=large unilamellar liposome/vesicle; SUV=small unilamellar liposome/vesicle; OLV=oligolamellar liposome/vesicle.

Liposomes are promising drug delivery carriers owing to their safety, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. However, liposomes are unstable in aqueous dispersions and most of the methods used to prepare liposomes are unsuitable for large-scale production. This review has come across a range of technologies which may be applied to scale up the production of stable liposomes. These include freeze drying (lyophilization) to produce powdered liposome formulations or proliposome technologies to produce liposome precursor formulations. Various types of liposomes have been manufactured with biological functionality. These are summarized below.

The biological functionality of liposomes is determined by liposome size and bilayer composition. Accordingly, liposomes are classified into conventional liposomes, cationic liposomes, thermosensitive liposomes, pH-sensitive liposomes, long-circulating (sterically stabilized) liposomes, and ultradeformable liposomes. Some liposome formulations may however fall under more than one category. For instance, inclusion of certain copolymers within pH-sensitive liposomes may enhance their escaping tendency from the blood phagocytes and hence such liposomes can be classified as both pH sensitive and long circulating.

Conventional liposomes are multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) made of lipids having neutral or negative charge. These liposomes are large, and because of their surface characteristics they are readily cleared from blood circulation by reticuloendothelial system (RES) cells and hence they have short biological half-life. Conventional liposomes are most commonly used in research to investigate the entrapment of compounds and their release profiles. They are commonly studied as model biological membranes.

Delivery of gene to diseased cells may repair the cause of the disease. This approach of delivery is commonly called gene therapy. Because DNA molecules are very large, their ability to penetrate the target cell and be expressed may be poor. This necessitates the presence of safe carriers, such as liposomes to facilitate the internalization of the genetic material into the cell. Cationic liposomes contain positively charged lipids such as N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl] N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTAP) which may complex with negatively charged macromolecules (e.g. DNA and siRNA) to be used in gene therapy. The presence of fusogenic phospholipids such as 1,2-didecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPE) within formulation may facilitate the fusion of liposomes with the target cells to enhance the internalization of the genetic material.

Thermosensitive liposomes are made from phospholipids whose membrane undergoes the gel-to-liquid crystalline phase transition a few degrees above physiological temperature. Increasing the temperature of tumor cells using an external source may induce drug release from thermosensitive liposomes at the tumor site. It has been recently shown that when certain copolymers incorporated in liposome bilayers, the vesicles become thermosensitive and the tumor targeting is enhanced upon induction of hyperthermia.

Liposomes can be made by incorporating a phospholipid which becomes destabilized or fusogenic under the slightly acidic conditions of inflamed tissues or tumors, to release the encapsulated therapeutic material intracellularly. This approach has been suggested by including phospholipids such as palmitoyl homocysteine or a mixture of oleic acid and phosphatidylethanolamine (3:7 mole ratio), which causes the resultant liposomes to fuse with endosomal membrane (pH 5–6.5) and release the entrapped contents. Formation of the inverted hexagonal phase is believed to be responsible for the fusogenic propensity of some lipids at mild acidic environments. An approach to preparation of pH-sensitive liposomes is to include materials within the liposomes that maintain the bilayers stable at the physiological pH of the blood (pH 7.4) while undergo instability at the mildly acidic environment inside the target cell, most specifically in the late endosomes. This can result in fusion of the liposome vesicles with the membranes of the late endosomes and subsequent release of the liposome-encapsulated contents in the cytosol, avoiding degradation in the lysosomes.

Conventional liposomes are rapidly cleared by the RES of the blood circulation. The rapid clearance may be overcome by the inclusion of certain amphiphiles within liposome formulation such as monosialoganglioside (GM1), hydrogenated phosphatidylinositol (HPI), or more recently the hydrophilic polymers polyethylene glycol. Incorporation of polyethylene glycol is nowadays considered a novel strategy in manufacturing biologically stable liposomes. This technology of liposome manufacture is termed the Stealth™ technology, and liposomes made by using this method are termed PEGylated, sterically stabilized or long-circulating liposomes. Steric stabilization has resulted in the marketing of PEGylated doxorubicin HCl liposomes as Doxil® in The United States and Caelyx® in Europe, for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Liposomes can be made elastic or ultradeformable by inclusion of certain surfactants or cosolvents within liposome formulation in certain concentrations to make the vesicles able to pass through the narrow pores of the skin and deliver associated small or large molecules. Ultradeformable liposomes have been reported to be more efficient in transdermal delivery of therapeutic agents compared to conventional liposomes such as in the delivery of protein vaccine, anticancer immunotherapeutic agent’s gene, and dexamethasone. Cationic liposomes have been prepared by inclusion of sodium cholate to be ultradeformable. The resultant vesicles have been reported to enhance gene transportation through the skin.

1.5 Future considerations

Biomedical scientists and clinicians all over the world are working toward prevention and early delivery of care to maintain human health. It is envisaged that nanotechnology will have a great impact in dental research and improvement in current treatment methodologies leading to superior oral health care in the near future.

Nanomaterials will be used far more widely and will yield superior properties and when combined with biotechnology, laser and digital guided surgery will thus provide excellent dental care. Smarter preventive measures and earlier interventions to avert craniofacial disorders using nanodiagnostics seem a reality. Nanotechnology research will definitely pave the way for development of tools, which would allow clinicians to diagnose and treat oral malignancies at their earliest stage.

Biomimetics and nanotechnology have given us the knowledge to bioengineer lost tooth and remineralization of carious lesions. This is one field which has stimulated immense interest among the dental and nanotechnology researchers. Salivary glands can be a gateway to the body for the delivery of precise molecular therapies using nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems with fewer side effects. Nanofillers have improved the esthetic, physical, and mechanical properties of dental composite materials.

Futuristic applications have been proposed on utilizing nanobots (nanoscale robots) to treat carious lesions, dentin hypersensitivity, induce dental anesthesia, teeth repositioning (using orthodontic nanobots that could directly manipulate periodontal tissues allowing rapid, painless movement). Dentifrobots (nanorobots in dentifrices) delivered through mouthwash or toothpaste could patrol supra- and subgingival surfaces of tooth performing continuous plaque/calculus removal and metabolize trapped organic matter into harmless and odorless vapor. These proposals may seemingly look outrageous, but inventions have always been the brainchildren of outrageous ideas of the scientific community. Predictive tools like lab-on-a-chip can utilize saliva as a media to diagnose dental and other physical anomalies of the human body.

1.6 Nanobiomaterials in clinical dentistry

There has been a huge surge in the number of studies over the recent few years focusing on the clinical applications of nanobiomaterials in dentistry. This book aims to address these recent developments and is an effort to bring concepts and research studies in this interdisciplinary field under one roof. The book has been divided into various sections to give the readers an idea about the specific applications and uses of nanobiomaterials in various dental specialties like preventive dentistry, orthodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, implant dentistry, dental tissue engineering, and endodontics. The last section discusses the use of saliva for diagnostic purposes and the potential use of nanoparticles as dental drug delivery systems and their biocompatibility/toxicity. While this chapter discusses the basic concepts of nanotechnology, the second chapter gives a general overview of the applications of nanobiomaterials in dentistry. CNTs have been gaining increased interest among the scientific community for their excellent physical and mechanical properties. Different techniques of CNT manufacturing and its potential applications in dental restorative materials, bone regeneration, and gene delivery have been discussed briefly in Chapter 3. Another interesting group of nanomaterials is silica-based nanomaterials. Their manufacturing techniques, properties, and potential use for skeletal and dental applications are addressed in Chapter 4. The applications of nanoparticles in glass ionomer cements (GICs), dental composite resin, and adhesives used in dentistry are presented in Chapter 5, 6 and 7, respectively. The uses of antimicrobial nanomaterials to prevent biofilm and caries formation are discussed in Chapters 8–10. Chapters 11–13 focus on the applications of nanobiomaterials and nanoscale imaging systems like AFM in orthodontic materials. Potential applications of such nanobiomaterials and how they can improve the current orthodontic armamentarium are also outlined in these chapters. The application of silver nanoparticles incorporated into acrylic-based tissue conditioner to prevent denture stomatitis has been discussed briefly in Chapter 14. Bioactive glass nanoparticles and their application for periodontal regeneration have been presented in Chapter 15.

Chapter 16 discusses the impact of nanotechnology/nanofabrication techniques for dental implants. Chapter 17 addresses the potential applications of titania nanotube coatings for dental implants to enhance osseointegration. Chapter 18 discusses carbon nanotube coatings/scaffolds and their potential applications in dental implants and bone regeneration. In Chapter 19, various nanostructured ceramics evaluated for bone regeneration in oral and maxillofacial complex have been reviewed briefly. Chapter 20 addresses the applications of biomimetics for periodontal and dental tissue regeneration. The potential applications and research studies done on the utilization of nanobiomaterials for endodontics is described in Chapter 21. Chapter 22 covers the applications of saliva as a diagnostic material and the potential use of microelectro mechanical systems/nanoelectro mechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) as salivary diagnostic tool. Chapter 23 outlines the recent advances in nanoparticles as drug delivery systems in dentistry and Chapter 24 discusses the cytotoxicity of orally delivered nanoparticle on systemic organs.


1. Feynman RP. There is plenty of room at the bottom. Eng Sci. 1960;23:22–36 and <> (1959).

2. N. Tanaguchi, On the basic concept of nanotechnology, in: 1974 Proc. ICPE.

3. Merriam Webster dictionary 2010.

4. US government, <>.

5. K. Shimizu, INC 2, USA, 2006.

6. B. Bushan, Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology, 2003, 147–180.

7. Fujii T. J Micromech Microeng. 2005;15:S286–S291.

8. Eigler DM, Schweizer EK. Positioning single atoms with a scanning tunnelling microscope. Nature. 1990;344:524–526.

9. Crommie MF, Lutz CP, Eigler DM. Confinement of electrons to quantum corrals on a metal surface. Science. 1993;262:218–220.

10. Bower C, et al. Appl Phys Lett. 2000;77:6.

11. M.C. Roco, NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference, December 12–15, 2005.

Chapter 2

Nanotechnology and Nanobiomaterials in Dentistry

Seyed Shahabeddin Mirsasaania, b, Mehran Hematia, c, Tina Tavasolid, Ehsan Sadeghian Dehkorda, Golnaz Talebian Yazdia and Danesh Arshadi Poshtirib, aBiomaterials Group, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering (Center of Excellence), Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, bFaculty of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, cDental School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran, dBiotechnology Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Chapter Outline

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Nanoscale materials

2.2.1 Nanoparticles

2.2.2 Characterization

2.2.3 Nanofibers

2.3 Nanodentistry

2.4 Nanobiomaterials in dentistry

2.5 Nanobiomaterials in preventive dentistry

2.6 Nanobiomaterials in restorative dentistry

2.6.1 Dental nanocomposites

2.6.2 Silver nanoparticles in restorative dental materials

2.7 Nanocomposites in bone regeneration

2.8 Conclusions


2.1 Introduction

Humans have been using nanotechnology for a long time without realizing it. The processes of making steel, vulcanizing rubber, and sharpening a razor all rely on manipulations of nanoparticles. The term nanotechnology was coined by Prof. Eric Drexler, a lecturer and researcher of nanotechnology. Nano is derived from the Greek word for dwarf. Nanotechnology is an umbrella term that encompasses all fields of science that operate on the nanoscale. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or three to five atoms in width. It would take approximately 40,000 nanometers lined up in a row to equal the width of a human hair. The basic idea of nanotechnology, used in the narrow sense of the world, is to employ individual atoms and molecules to construct functional structures [1].

In 1959, Nobel award winner Richard Feynman first proposed the seminal idea of nanotechnology by suggesting the development of molecular machines. In his historic lecture in 1959, he concluded saying, this is a development which I think cannot be avoided [2]. Ever since, the scientific community has investigated the role that nanotechnology can play in every aspect of science. The intrigue of nanotechnology comes from the ability to control material properties by assembling such materials at the nanoscale. The tunable material properties that nanotechnology can provide were stated in Norio Taniguchi’s paper in 1974 where the term nanotechnology was first used in a scientific publication [3]. The reason for the omnipresence of the word nano as one of the most attractive prefixes in the contemporary materials science is simpler than it seems [4]. Namely, the progress of humanity is underlaid by a continual increase in sensitivity of human interactions with their physical surrounding. As the human societies evolved, the critical length of cutting-edge functional devices has shifted from millimeter to micrometer to nanometer scale. With the scientific ability to control physical processes at nanometer scale, we have entered the era of research and application of nanoscale phenomena. Finally, as material properties often significantly alter following the micro-to-nano shift in the scale at which critical boundaries are found, a new field was born to explain these rather strange phenomena, named nanoscience; the application of its discoveries is known as nanotechnology [5].

Nanotechnologies are on the verge of initiating extraordinary advances in biological and biomedical sciences. These would be associated with both providing the tools for improved understanding of fundamental building blocks of materials and tissues at the nanoscale and designing technologies for probing, analyzing, and reconstructing them. It is not surprising that the development of novel technologies provides the foundations for creation and application of newer and more advanced ones. Expansion of novel technologies, particularly those involved in enriching methods of research, have already changed the way we view and define the standards of high-quality dental materials, tools, and practices. As we see, nanotechnology has favored our understanding of dental materials at the nanoscale and enabled the design of materials with ultrafine architecture [6].

Nanoengineering is one field of nanotechnology. Nanoengineering concerns itself with manipulating processes that occur on the scale of 1–100 nm. Nanoengineering is an interdisciplinary science that builds biochemical structures smaller than bacterium, which function like microscopic factories. This is possible by utilizing basic biochemical processes at the atomic or molecular level. In simple terms, molecules interact through natural processes, and nanoengineering takes advantage of those processes by direct manipulation. Current developments are limited to the creation of nanoscale objects for use as materials in different technologies. Material engineered using nanotechnology is often more precise and durable because of certain properties of matter at extremely small scales [4].

2.2 Nanoscale materials

The nanomaterial field takes a science-based approach to study materials with morphological features on the nanoscale, and especially those that have special properties stemming from their nanoscale dimensions. Nanoscale is usually defined as smaller than one-tenth of a micrometer in at least one dimension, though this term is sometimes also used for materials smaller than 1 µm. A natural, incidental, or manufactured material containing particles, in an unbound state or as an aggregate or as an agglomerate and where, for 50% or more of the particles in the number size distribution, one or more external dimensions is in the size range 1–100 nm. In specific cases and where warranted by concerns for the environment, health, safety, or competitiveness, the number size distribution threshold of 50% may be replaced by a threshold between 1% and 50% [7].

An important aspect of nanotechnology is the vastly increased ratio of surface area to volume present in many nanoscale materials, which makes possible new quantum mechanical effects. One example is the quantum size effect where the electronic properties of solids are altered with great reductions in particle size. This effect does not come into play by going from macro- to microdimensions. However, it becomes pronounced when the nanometer size range is reached. A certain number of physical properties also alter with the change from macroscopic systems. Novel mechanical properties of nanobiomaterials are the subject of nanomechanics research. Catalytic activities also reveal new behavior in the interaction with biomaterials [8]. The chemical processing and synthesis of high-performance technological components for the private, industrial, and military sectors require the use of high-purity ceramics, polymers, glass-ceramics, and material composites. In condensed bodies formed from fine powders, the irregular sizes and shapes of nanoparticles in a typical powder often lead to nonuniform packing morphologies that result in packing density variations in the powder compact [9].

Uncontrolled agglomeration of powders due to attractive Vander Waals forces can also give rise to microstructural inhomogeneity. Differential stresses that develop as a result of nonuniform drying shrinkage are directly related to the rate at which the solvent can be removed and thus highly dependent upon the distribution of porosity. Such stresses have been associated with a plastic-to-brittle transition in consolidated bodies and can yield to crack propagation in the unfired body if not relieved [10,11]. In addition, any fluctuations in packing density in the compact as it is prepared for the kiln are often amplified during the sintering process, yielding inhomogeneous densification. Some pores and other structural defects associated with density variations have been shown to play a detrimental role in the sintering process by growing and thus limiting end-point densities. Differential stresses arising from inhomogeneous densification have also been shown to result in the propagation of internal cracks, thus becoming the strength-controlling flaws [12,13]. It would therefore appear desirable to process a material in such a way that it is physically uniform with regard to the distribution of components and porosity, rather than using particle size distributions which will maximize density. The containment of a uniformly dispersed assembly of strongly interacting particles in suspension requires total control over particle–particle interactions. It should be noted here that a number of dispersants such as ammonium citrate (aqueous) and imidazoline or oleyl alcohol (nonaqueous) are promising solutions as possible additives for enhanced dispersion and deagglomeration. Monodisperse nanoparticles and colloids provide this potential [14]. Monodisperse powders of colloidal silica, for example, may therefore be stabilized sufficiently to ensure a high degree of order in the colloidal crystal or polycrystalline colloidal solid which results from aggregation. The degree of order appears to be limited by the time and space allowed for longer-range correlations to be established. Such defective polycrystalline colloidal structures would appear to be the basic elements of submicrometer colloidal materials science, and, therefore, provide the first step in developing a more rigorous understanding of the mechanisms involved in microstructural evolution in high-performance materials and components [15].

2.2.1 Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are nanometer-sized particles that are nanoscale in three dimensions. They include nanopores, nanotubes, quantum dots, nanoshells, dendrimers, liposomes, nanorods, fullerenes, nanospheres, nanowires, nanobelts, nanorings, and nanocapsules. The applications of nanoparticles include drug delivery systems, cancer targeting, and dentistry [2]. Nanoparticles are of great scientific interest as they are effectively a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures. A bulk material should have constant physical properties regardless of its size, but for the nanoscale this is often not the case. Size-dependent properties are observed such as quantum confinement in semiconductor particles, surface plasmon resonance in some metal particles, and super paramagnetism in magnetic materials [16]. Nanoparticles exhibit a number of special properties relative to bulk material. Nanoparticles often have unexpected visual properties because they are small enough to confine their electrons and produce quantum effects. For example, gold nanoparticles appear deep red to black in solution. The often very high surface-area-to-volume ratio of nanoparticles provides a tremendous driving force for diffusion, especially at elevated temperatures. Sintering is possible at lower temperatures and over shorter durations than for larger particles. This theoretically does not affect the density of the final product, though flow difficulties and the tendency of nanoparticles to agglomerate do complicate matters. The surface effects of nanoparticles also reduce the incipient melting temperature. Nanoparticles are being applied in various industries, including medicine, due to various properties such as increased resistance to wear and the killing of bacteria, but there are worries due to the unknown consequences to the environment and human health [17].

2.2.2 Characterization

The first observations and size measurements of nanoparticles were made during the first decade of the twentieth century. They are mostly associated with the name of Zsigmondy who made detailed studies of gold sols and other nanobiomaterials with sizes down to 10 nm and less. Zsigmondy published a book in 1914. He used an ultramicroscope that employs a dark field method for seeing particles with sizes much less than light wavelength. Applications began in the 1980s with the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope and the discovery of carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. In 2000, the US government founded the National Nanotechnology Initiative to direct nanotechnological development. There are traditional techniques developed during twentieth century in Interface and Colloid Science for characterizing nanobiomaterials. These are widely used for first generation passive nanobiomaterials [18]. These methods include several different techniques for characterizing particle size distribution. This characterization is imperative because many materials that are expected to be nanosized are actually aggregated in solutions. Some of the methods are based on light scattering. Others apply ultrasound, such as ultrasound attenuation spectroscopy for testing concentrated nanodispersions and microemulsions. There is also a group of traditional techniques for characterizing surface charge or zeta potential of nanoparticles in solutions. This information is required for proper system stabilization, preventing its aggregation or flocculation. These methods include microelectrophoresis, electrophoretic light scattering, and electroacoustics. Nanobiomaterials behave differently than other similarly sized particles. It is therefore necessary to develop specialized approaches to testing and monitoring their effects on human health and on the environment

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