I got an email this morning from AMC (the TV network) with a link to this article. The article discusses the new cool plasma blowtorch that USC is experimenting with.
In this previous blog article, I wrote about biofilms. Biofilms are a beast. The average clinician has no clue how formidable of an opponent biofilms really are. In April, I heard Dr. Bill Costerton speak. Dr. Costerton won the Nobel prize for his work on biofilms and even coined the term biofilm. He is heading up USC's Biofilm department.
His department devoloped and is studying this cool plasma blowtorch. As of now, they have used it to successfully debride and sterilize root canal systems, some of the toughest biofilms you will ever meet. There are some inherent difficulties with this like getting the plasma to the apex and not beyond into the periodontium. The studies so far have been with extracted teeth, so obviously there is a long way to go before we see this commercially. To me, the wonderous thing about this technology is the fact that the blowtorch runs at room temperature. Stunning!
There is a lot of promise for a technology like this. Imagine being able to perform fully sterilized debridements or sterilizing operative preparations in areas near the pulp. The layman articles linked above hope for a consumer toothbrush using this technology. That might be an expensive toothbrush, but who knows what the future holds.