Dental Tribune International

New sensor monitors bone growth around dental implants

By Franziska Beier, Dental Tribune International
November 24, 2020

TEHRAN, Iran: In order to reduce the medical radiographic imaging dosage for patients with dental implants, engineers from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran have designed a novel sensor. The device can be integrated within dental implants in order to monitor bone growth, thus replacing multiple radiographic imaging sessions.

According to the researchers, low energy consumption, stable performance and information processing rate are some of the engineering challenges for implanted sensors. The sensor is designed using microfabrication methods and integrated into dental implants. Once in place, it passively measures changes in the surrounding electrical field in order to monitor bone growth. “When the bone is forming around the sensor, the capacitance of the sensor changes,” explained lead author Dr Alireza Hassanzadeh, assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering at the university, in a blog entry on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum website. These changes in capacitance are then conveyed to a reader device via a wireless inductive link.

The sensor is a zero-power module and therefore does not require a battery. According to IEEE Spectrum, it is made of titanium and PEEK. So far, it has been tested on the femur and mandible bone. Results showed that sensor capacitance from the early stage of the dental implant to full recovery and bone development had increased more than seven times. “The results reveal that the amount of bone around the implant has a direct effect on the capacitance value of the sensor,” added Hassanzadeh.

The device still needs to be optimised for different implant sizes and shapes, and clinical studies will need to be completed with dental implant patients showing different indications, said Hassanzadeh. “We plan to commercialise the device after some clinical tests and approval from FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] and authorities.”

The study, titled “A new capacitive sensor for histomorphometry evaluation of dental implants”, was published online on 25 September 2020 in IEEE Sensors Journal, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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