SBIR Phase I: The Chairside Delivery of Focused Microwave Energy for Caries Therapy
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
BioMat Sciences, Inc.
5612 Glenwood Rd., Bethesda, MD, 20817-6728
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project addresses the need for new and minimally invasive approaches to the management of dental caries, a microbial infection of teeth. Caries is one of the most widespread of chronic diseases that infects nearly every American during their lifetime. The preponderance of treatment for caries involves its surgical removal by dentists using rotary instrumentation ("drilling'). However, one way to definitively circumvent the continued use of surgical treatment involves the concept of disinfecting caries in teeth using focused microwave energy. By killing the bacteria, the disease can be arrested and an environment for spontaneous remineralization enhanced. This proposal aims to test the hypothesis that focused microwave energy delivered directly to a tooth is lethal to bacteria that are native to dental caries. Thus, the purpose of this study is to (1) develop a stable and efficient device for the chairside delivery of focused microwave energy; (2) to demonstrate that the delivered microwave energy is effective in killing bacteria in caries; and 3) to further demonstrate that exposure of teeth to microwave energy does not significantly increase tooth temperature or alter tooth structure. The proposed research will result in the development of a novel shoebox-sized device capable of delivering focused microwave energy directly to a tooth. The broader/commercial impact of this project, if success, will be the development of a device that will enable the low-cost, rapid and non-invasive treatment of caries to be used both by dental and non-dental professionals. The economic impact of this approach to care would be immense as treatment efficiency is improved and access to care is increased. For the latter, despite advances in prevention, caries continues to disproportionately affect low income children, the working poor and the elderly. Thus, since the use of the proposed technology would require minimal technical skill, treatment could potentially be provided by trained nurses in schools or nursing homes to vulnerable populations. On a commercial scale, the device will have extensive utility for dentists by providing a rapid and definitive means of non-invasively treating caries, thereby reducing the complexity and time of treatment while preserving tooth structure. It is anticipate that the market for the device would be extensive both in the United States and around the world.
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