By Steven Bloembergen, Ph.D.
Not many people know that early stage dental cavities can be restored with remineralization treatments using fluoride or special toothpastes. Or that some dental cavities are “inactive” and do not even need treatment. Most people also haven’t considered that the moment a dentist drills into their tooth, this begins an irreversible restorative cycle typically including replacement restorations, a crown, a root canal, or even an implant. But these understandings have led to a new “minimally invasive” philosophy that is now being practiced and taught in dental schools. “Drill for Prevention” is Old-School thinking, whereas this new paradigm focuses on preservation of natural tooth structure, leading to improved oral health outcomes.
The big problem is there is currently not a good way to find early pre-cavities, nor to monitor the impact of remineralization treatment, nor to differentiate cavities that do or do not require treatment. Therefore, the benefits of the new paradigm are not being realized.
GreenMark is developing a solution: a mouth rinse product to be used by dental professionals during the routine dental exam, which illuminates cavities and early lesions with a standard dental curing lamp found in every dentist’s office. By earlier detection and showing “activity” the test will enable monitoring and allow greater use of treatments that are kinder to patients, and their teeth.
The technology, based on starch nanoparticles, is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between University of Michigan researchers, Dr. Joerg Lahann, Engineering Professor and Director of the UM BioInterfaces Institute, Dr. Brian Clarkson, Professor of Cariology, School of Dentistry and Ph.D. student Nathan Jones, Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. GreenMark’s Chairman and CEO, Dr. Steven Bloembergen, previously cofounded EcoSynthetix (TSX:ECO), a company with global sales and production for industrial applications, bringing extensive experience with the starch nanoparticles. GreenMark was spun out in 2016 to develop dental and medical applications. The company’s technology is unique in that it allows targeting of the interior, rather than just the surface of active pre-cavities. Natural enzymes in saliva degrade the starch nanoparticles by the time patients leave the dental office. The diagnostic is safe, quick, effective, and affordable.
Among other things, the company is also using the same technology to target the delivery of fluoride and other minerals into the interior of early dental cavities as a pain-free method to repair them, and it is working on a Software, Imaging and App add-on.
The market potential is significant. Tooth decay (dental cavities) is the single most common chronic disease, affecting almost everyone. US Dental Expenditure is over $130 Billion per year; much of this is a direct result of tooth decay. GreenMark is uniquely positioned to offer transformative diagnostics and treatments for this ubiquitous problem.
To learn more about GreenMark, visit our website at http://greenmark.bio/