A team of researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has created a miniaturized system-on-a-chip that offers a noninvasive way to stimulate jaw growth and dental tissue healing.

Created by Tarak El-Bialy, BDS, MS Ortho, MS OSCI, Ortho Cert, PhD, from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and Jie Chen, PhD, and Ying Tsui, PhD, from the Faculty of Engineering and using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), the device is aimed at those who experience dental root resorption, a common effect of mechanical or chemical injury to dental tissue caused by diseases and endocrine disturbances. Mechanical injury from wearing orthodontic braces can also cause progressive root resorption, limiting the duration that braces can be worn. The device counteracts the destructive process and allows continued wear of corrective braces.

The wireless ultrasound transducer allows the device to fit comfortably inside a patient’s mouth. It easily mounts on a bracket or on a removable plastic crown. The researchers also designed an energy sensor that ensures that the LIPUS power is reaching the target area of the teeth roots within the bone.

The research team is finishing the system-on-a-chip and hopes to complete the device by next year.

[www.medicalnewstoday.com, June 29, 2006]