Dental Implants Enter a New Era With Revolutionary New Technology

With a chairside device that uses UV light to treat titanium implants, UCLA researchers have made considerable strides in developing a device that could revolutionize care beyond dentistry.

By Genni Burkhart, Incisor Editor

After a decade of research, UCLA researchers led by Takahiro Ogawa, D.D.S., Ph.D., have invented cutting-edge technology in dental implants.

This advanced technology guarantees exceptional integration with the jawbone (osseointegration), shorter recovery times, and a significant reduction in the potential for patient risks. This remarkable achievement represents a major milestone in dental implant research, offering patients improved outcomes and a higher quality of life.

Ultraviolet Light Treatment

Research by this team has led to the development of a device that utilizes one minute of ultraviolet (UV) light treatment on titanium implants, which can be performed chairside immediately before an implant procedure. This device has the potential to extend beyond dentistry in various applications.

According to Dr. Ogawa, “We have entered a new era in dental implantology. This UV technology not only enhances the effectiveness of dental implants but also improves the quality of life for patients. The possibilities are limitless, and I am incredibly excited about the potential impact on oral and overall health."

Key Obstacle: Hydrocarbon Layer

Dr. Ogawa and colleagues from the Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology successfully identified a crucial barrier that had hindered the progression of dental implant science for 30 years. The barrier was a naturally occurring layer of hydrocarbons on implant surfaces, known as the titanium pellicle, which prevented proper integration with the body.

This hydrocarbon layer was also linked to a higher occurrence of post-op complications, particularly peri-implantitis (gum disease around implants), which affects approximately 35-40% of patients. To overcome this challenge, the team developed a UV light method to eliminate these hydrocarbons.

While initially requiring 48 hours, the team gradually reduced the treatment time to 12 minutes. However, their breakthrough in late 2022 allowed for the successful removal of hydrocarbons in just one minute, making the procedure easily chair-side accessible and feasible just before implant surgery. These findings and procedures were documented in a publication published in the Journal of Functional Biomaterials, co-authored by Dr. Ogawa and his team.


UV-treated implants have the ability to revolutionize the dental industry by offering a higher level of stability and security for patients. The nearly 100% bone integration achieved by these implants enhances their anchoring capability, leading to faster healing and reduced risk of complications.

Moreover, the reduction in bacterial susceptibility by 60% ensures better oral health and a higher chance of successful integration, even for individuals with pre-existing conditions such as aging, smoking, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Overall, this technology can dramatically improve the quality of care and increase treatment options for a wide range of patients.

In Conclusion

A follow-up journal article by Dr. Ogawa was published on October 29, 2023, in Cells.

The article highlights the discovery that one-minute UV treatment prompts gingival cells to "unprecedentedly" seal implants, preventing bacterial invasion and reducing the occurrence of peri-implantitis. This breakthrough research offers promising new strategies for improving dental implant maintenance and patient well-being.

Dr. Ogawa is enthusiastic about the potential applications of this technology across the broader spectrum of healthcare. “Orthopedic implants like hip joint reconstruction and spine fixation show a high incidence of revision surgery and complications. I believe UV-treated implants will help mitigate them,” he explained.


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Author: With over 14 years as a published journalist, editor, and writer, Genni Burkhart's career has spanned politics, healthcare, law, business finance, technology, and news. She resides in Northern Colorado, where she works as the Editor in Chief of the Incisor at DOCS Education.

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