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Dental Implants and Reptiles

Dental Implants and Reptiles

An article published online on August 27, 2010 in the Journal of Biomechanics suggests reptiles are helping researchers study how to prevent damage to dental implants and jaw joints. The article’s test subjects are reptiles from  New Zealand called the tuatara which have teeth fused to their jaw bone – much like modern dental implants.  In contrast, mammals have their natural teeth held in sockets by a flexible ligament (periodontal ligament) in the jaw bone. When placing a dental implant, it becomes fused to the jaw bone.

A New Zealand Reptile 'tuatara'

A team from the University of Hull, University College London, and the Hull York Medical School has created a 3-D computer model of the skull of the tuatara to investigate the feedback that occurs between the jaw joints and muscles and determine how a creature that lacks periodontal ligaments prevents damage to its jaw.

Anatomical comparison; tooth vs dental implant

Looking forward to seeing some results out of this research.

Article summarized by Dr. Murphy.

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