A team of researchers, led by the UCLA School of Dentistry’s Dr. Takahiro Ogawa, has culminated a decade of dental implant research with the development of an ultraviolet technology ensuring near-perfect osseointegration — the act of attaching a prosthetic directly to bone. The technology also promises faster healing times and significantly reduced complications for patients.

“We have entered a new era in dental implantology,” said Ogawa, a professor and interim primary investigator at UCLA’s Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology. “This UV technology not only enhances the effectiveness of dental implants but also improves the quality of life for patients.”

The researchers first identified a key obstacle — the presence of hydrocarbon deposition on implant surfaces, which can hinder integration. The hydrocarbons have been associated with post-operative complications such as gum disease, which occurs in 35% to 40% of patients. The team developed a method to remove these deposits via UV light, gradually reducing treatment times from 48 to 12 minutes. Performing the procedure chairside before implant surgery became feasible with the team’s one-minute hydrocarbon removal breakthrough in late 2022.

Ogawa was the primary author on a follow-up article published last month, which demonstrated how one-minute UV treatment induces unprecedented action of gingival, or gum, cells to seal the implants, limiting bacterial invasion and reducing incidents of disease. 

Read the full release on the dentistry school’s website.