Researchers found in a clinical trial that nanodiamonds protected disinfected root canals after the nerve and pulp were removed, thereby improving the likelihood of a full recovery. The findings are a milestone for the use of nanodiamonds in humans.

Nanodiamonds are tiny particles made of carbon and are so small that millions of them could fit on the head of a pin. They resemble soccer balls but have facets like actual diamonds. Those facets enable the nanodiamonds to deliver a wide range of drugs and imaging agents. Combining nanodiamonds with gutta percha, a material used to fill disinfected root canals, may enhance the gutta percha’s protective properties.

Protecting disinfected root canals is a delicate process. Dentists use gutta percha to block bacteria from infiltrating the tooth, but it can break during the procedure or create pockets of space for bacteria to infiltrate, which leads to infection.

The researchers tested nanodiamond-embedded gutta percha, or NDGP, in three people who were undergoing root canal procedures. Tests of the implanted material confirmed that the NDGP was more resistant to buckling and breaking than conventional gutta percha.

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