A collaborative research team has developed a smart-tooth technology to help detect early signs of certain diseases in high-risk patients. The electronic tooth sensor analyzes saliva or gingival crevicular fluid.
“Salivary-based biosensors have generated a lot of interest because of their potential for wide applications in medicine,” said Erica Lynn Scheller, who trained as a dentist and is now an assistant professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology in the School of Medicine, according to Washington University article. “We’re initially working to develop a biological sensor that measures specific peptides active in periodontal disease and that would be used in combination with a wireless device to retrieve that data.”
The electronic “tooth” is a tiny sensor and an electronic chip that is only a few millimeters-cube in volume. From here, it would be inserted in the patient’s gum line or part of a dental application. The chip contains bio-recognition elements that measure different disease peptides, and the researchers will start by monitoring these peptides to find peptides related to periodontitis, a dental disease. A wireless ultrasound device will be used to read the peptide levels, and display the resuls on a medical data-cloud.