To fight infection, the TiO2 nanotubes can also be laced with silver nanoparticles. Shokuhfar and Craig Friedrich, who holds the Richard and Bonnie Robbins Chair of Sustainable Design and Manufacturing at Michigan Tech, are conducting research, as yet unpublished, which is focused on orthopedic implants, such as artificial hips, but which also applies to dental implants.(3) According to the authors, silver has antimicrobial properties, and they were able to obtain a dose that can kill microbes, but not damage healthy cells and tissues. Specially, it can help prevent biofilms, the enormous colonies of bacteria that can cover implants and be very difficult to eliminate. A nanotextured implant surface embedded with silver nanoparticles could prevent infection for the life of the implant. The TiO2 nanotubes also have a cosmetic advantage: transparency. That is positive for any dental implant, but especially for a new type made from zirconia, which some patients choose because it is totally white. Shokuhfar and Friedrich have received a provisional patent and are working with two hospitals to further develop the technology,and eventually license it. Shokuhfar expects that implants with the new nanotubular surface will be easily assimilated into the market, since titanium implants, both dental and orthopedic, have a long history. Implants covered with TiO2 nanotubes would appear the same as conventional implants, and a clinician would follow the same implant placement procedure. For Shokuhfar, the nanotextured surface is a perfect example of small things having a big impact. The surface would be inexpensive and easy to make and will be able to improve healing and make the healing process faster. It could potentially battle infection by adding antimicrobial silver and reduce inflammation by adding sodium naproxen. It is likely that it could promote healing doubly by incorporating a growth factor into the TiO2 nanotubes.References 1. Michigan Technological University (2013, September 23). Smile! New nanotube surface promises dental implants that heal faster and fight infection. Science Daily. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 2. Tolou Shokuhfar, Suman Sinha-Ray, Cortino Sukotjo, Alexander L. Yarin. Intercalation of anti-inflammatory drug molecules within TiO2 nanotubes. RSC Advances, 2013; 3 (38): 17380 -17386. DOI: 10.1039/C3RA42173B. 3. T. Shokuhfar, J.Y. Chang, C.K. Choi, C. Friedrich. Biophysical Evaluation of Osteoblasts on TiO2 Nanotubes. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, Dec 2011, Under Revision. The paper, "Survivability of TiO2 Nanotubes on the Surface of Bone Screws," has been accepted by the journal, Surface Innovations. It describes work showing that specially treated TiO2 nanotubes on the surface of orthopedic bone screws survive insertion and removal in bone simulant material.