Skip to main content

#weekendusers Why do dental implants develop inflammation?


Up to half of all dental implants placed worldwide develop an inflammation at some stage. One of the possible reasons could be the release of particles from the implants into the surrounding tissue. In the first of a two-part experimental sessions, researchers from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (Freiburg University Hospital) and the company Xploraytion are trying to map and characterise the particle distribution in the peri-implant tissue regions.

  • Share

Every year, 12 million dental implants are placed worldwide. Nearly half of these implants develop an inflammation of the surrounding tissue at some point. These require further medical intervention with negative impacts on quality of life and a high cost for the health care system.

This weekend, scientists from the Freiburg University Hospital and the company Xploraytion are trying to track the particle distribution of implants in surrounding tissue, which could  contribute to a better understanding of the cause of the inflammation.


Three of the team members on the experimental hutch: Deborah Stiehl, Tobias Fretwurst and Victoria Landwehr (from left to right). Missing in the photo: Bernhard Hesse. Credits: B. Hesse.

The team will be investigating human jaw bone and soft tissue originating from the direct dental implant vicinity. They are focusing on titanium-based implants, which are the most common ones, as well as the newly-developed ceramic-based implants. The samples, of 3x3 mm, will be scanned at ID21. Bernhard Hesse, founder of Xploraytion and visiting scientist at the ESRF explains: “The experiment this weekend will allow us to characterise the implant-associated distribution of the particles and at the same time their speciation within the tissue at the micron length scale. In addition, we can allocate regions within these samples that we will further evaluate on the nano-length scale at ID16B in the second part of this experiment in September.. The combination of large fields of view on ID21, with the nanoscale distribution of ID16B, plus the biological analysis which will be performed by Tobias Fretwurst’s team, will give us a unique picture of what takes place in the tissue”.

For the researchers from the Freiburg University Hospital this is their second time at the ESRF. Their day-to-day work is far from a synchrotron, but the experience is proving very fruitful: “With good data, this research will help us to better understand inflammation linked to dental implants and to better gauge the risks of implants”, explains Tobias Fretwurst, one of the initators of this study.  


Part of the team in the control hutch. Credits: C. Argoud.

Text by Montserrat Capellas Espuny