The future of dental implants may include those with a built-in reservoir that contains slow-release drugs, which will eliminate “bacterial biofilms” that may lead to infection. These implants, which are currently in the research phase, are made of porous composite material through which the drugs can gradually diffuse from the reservoir to the outside of the implant. Biofilms are aggregates of bacteria in a slime-enclosed mass, which are very difficult to treat. When bacterial biofilms become chronic, they are extremely resistant to antibiotics. Researchers have found that by filling the reservoirs in the medicated dental implants with chlorhexidine (a powerful antimicrobial found in mouthwashes), they were able to stop Streptococcus mutans and halt the formation of biofilms.
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