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Mile High Natural Awakenings

Tiny Flossers: Miniature Robots May Become Dental Technicians

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A team of engineers, dentists and biologists from the University of Pennsylvania has developed a microscopic robotic cleaning crew that can precisely and non-invasively remove plaque buildup. Instead of the time-consuming and often unpleasant scraping with mechanical tools to remove plaque from teeth, a dentist could deploy either of two types of robotic systems—one designed to work on surfaces and the other to operate inside confined spaces. Robots with catalytic activity could destroy biofilms, the sticky amalgamations of bacteria enmeshed in a protective scaffolding, which would reduce the risk of tooth decay, endodontic infections and implant contamination. The work was published in Science Robotics.


This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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