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Ceramics and Medicine

Ceramics and Medicine

You will not believe all the ceramics and medicine equipment that is being made, to help the biomedical field. It is truly amazing that so much can be done. When you think of ceramics, you may think about those little tiles that many people made in art class many years ago. However, you will find that ceramics play an even larger role than you may have thought.

Ceramics and Medicine with Dentistry

In the dentists office there are many applications for ceramics and they are usually to give you a better smile. Everyone is familiar with braces and how they have had to wear metal because there were no options. Suddenly within the last few years there have been many commercials about invisible braces. You might guess that the reason is because orthodontists have been looking for alternatives to the "metal mouth" look.

One of the reasons orthodontia has looked for alternatives is because many people don't want to be embarrassed by having to wear braces. They would rather go without than to have people see them with all that hardware. Orthodontists understand this problem but want to give as many people as they can the chance for a beautiful smile.

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To make this work they found a material called Transparent polycrystalline alumina (TPA) which originally was used by NASA as a way to track heat seeking missiles. However, the orthodontists found out that if they worked with Unitek Corporation/3M, the makers of this ceramic substance, they would find a product called " Transcend brackets" that was made from the TPA. They were perfect for braces and they were as effective as metal.

This gave the individual who wanted braces an opportunity to have braces that from a distance were invisible and they are also nonporous and 99% pure, which means that they won't stain or discolor your teeth. You can't beat that for a good product and if someone like Tom Cruise used them, they must be worth it!

Ceramics and Medicine help Liver Cancer

As most people know traditional treatment for cancer usually involves chemotherapy which can be very difficult for individuals. Usually this means a hospital stay and they will become sick afterwards with vomiting, nausea and hair loss. Most patients understand that this is the plight that they have to deal with when they go through these treatments and some will, but others decide it's just too much to bear.

Because of this researchers looked for a new way to do some type of treatment so that people would not have to suffer so much. Glass microspheres are the answer that was found. These are very tiny and very thin -- some have compared them to a human hair saying they are smaller -- and they are approved by the FDA and currently in use in several hospitals across the United States.

This is a very simple treatment and the individual can have it done as an outpatient. The microspheres are inserted into the tumor using a catheter and the radiation is centralized to the tumor. The malignant tumor is then addressed and there is minimal damage to the other tissue. Because it is done this way, the individual doesn't have the normal after therapy symptoms and will only experience fatigue for several weeks while the radiation is working.

Ceramics and Medicine with Implants

Implants were another area where people had to have metal or other materials put into their bodies. Many complained that the aspect of the part that was replaced was difficult to deal with on one level or another. The first aspect of ceramics that started for replacement parts was Alumina, and that is now being replaced with zirconia.

Zirconia is being used on the artificial femoral heads for hip replacements. This makes the part stronger and the heads are smaller so the patient experiences less trauma during the operation. Besides hip replacements, zirconia is being used in shoulders, knee joints, spinal implants and phalangeal joints. This is an amazing use of ceramic materials and it is making great strides in the medical field. Who knows what they will come up with next.

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