An Iit Kharagpur alum may have revolutionized the root canal with nano-robots

A start-up incubated by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and a group of researchers from the premier university institute in Bengaluru have developed nano-sized robots that can kill bacteria deep inside the dentinal tubules, thereby stimulating the root treatments.

The group of researchers from IISc and Theranautilus, a start-up led by Ambarish Ghosh, professor at the Center for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) and alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, showed that nano-sized robots controlled by a magnetic field can boost the success of root canal treatments by killing bacteria inside the teeth’s microscopic canals, called dentinal tubules.

In root canal treatments, the infected pulp or tissue inside the tooth is removed and the tooth is flushed with chemicals and antibiotics to kill the germs causing the infections. Despite rinsing, some antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain in the dentinal tubules.

Nanobots are able to penetrate deep inside dentinal tubules and generate heat, killing nearby bacteria, researchers said in a study published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

This was possible because the helical nanobots could be manipulated with a device that generates a low-intensity magnetic field.

“Current techniques are not effective enough to go all the way and kill the bacteria,” IANS quoted Shanmukh Srinivas, co-founder of Theranautilus and research associate at IISc, as saying.

The nanobots are made of silicon dioxide coated with iron. The researchers tested the robots and tracked their movements under a microscope on samples of extracted teeth.

Dental professionals previously used ultrasonic or laser pulse irrigation methods to generate shock waves in the fluid to better disinfect microorganisms in the tooth.

However, the pulses could only penetrate to a distance of 800 micrometers before dissipating the energy. Compared to pulses, nanobots could penetrate up to 2,000 micrometers.

Another benefit of using nanobots is that it’s safer to use heat to kill germs than harsh chemicals or antibiotics, the researchers said.

(With contributions from Kamalika Sengupta of News18 in Kolkata.)

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

First post: STI

Mavis R. Bernier