Dental Implant: Inter-Disciplinary Research to Improve Patient Experience

Published on 26 Sep, 2014

Dental implants are inert materials embedded in the bone of the jaw or skull (i.e., maxilla and/or mandible) to manage tooth loss, and aid replacement of lost oral and facial structures caused by trauma, periodontal diseases, injury, or other reasons. The global dental implant market reached $15 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow at at a CAGR of 7% to $24 billion by 2018. The growth would be attributed to better acceptance by patients because of increase in overall quality of implants and advancements in implant techniques, which is leading to higher success rates.

Consistent Patent Filing Activity in the Last Six Years

The market has attracted significant investments in research and development to develop technologies for the preparation of inert material for dental implants, devices for insertion and removal of implants, and regenerative medicine for dental implant procedures. On an average 1,400 patents have been filed annually during the last six years in the dental implant domain, with a maximum of 2,004 patents filed in 2012.

Dental Implant Patent Filing Trend

The US and China dominate the research space with approximately 50% and 30% of overall patents filed, respectively, over last six years. High number of patent filings in China can be attributed to strong domestic market for dental implants, owing to the increasing percentage of old age population.

Top Companies are Focusing on Different Aspects of Dental Implant Delivery

To tap this lucrative market, several companies such as 3M Innovations Technology, Warsaw Orthopedic Inc, and Biomet Orthopedics have entered the segment. In terms of patents, Chongqing Runze Pharmaceutical leads with 146 patents filed in the last five years, followed by Straumann Holding AG.

Company Number patents filed (2008 onwards) Key Focus Areas
Chongqing Runze Company 146 Dental implant procedure and improving the structural aspects of prosthetics specifically the planting shoulder, screw and the groove.
Straumann Holding AG 99 Surgical techniques and tools and overall design and texture of implants
Nobel Bio-care (acquired by Danaher Group in Sep 2014) 79 Screw and groove structure to facilitate accurate positioning and insertion of dental implants
Warsaw Orthopedic Inc 61 Implants and aspects focusing on fixation of implants
3M Innovations 56 Compositions and materials for preparing dental implants

Source: Aranca analysis based on Thomson Innovation Data

Future Research to Focus on Advanced Implantation Procedures and Design of Dental Implants

The research focus is on development of a wide range of inter-disciplinary areas such as topography and surface engineering of dental implants, materials for dental implants, and implant stability. In the recent times, the research has shifted towards improving the aesthetics of implant and improving the patient experience in undergoing various procedures.

Our analysis shows that future research in this area will be focused on improving the patient experience in the overall procedure, related to fixing of dental implants and also on improving the design and aesthetics of the implants. Some of the specific solutions will include:

  • Surface-engineered dental implants to optimize the ratio of bone-to-implant contact and to improve the texture.
  • Advancements in drilling and implantation devices to make the procedure easier and less painful for patients. In addition, these advancements will help improve the accuracy of the implantation procedure.
  • Focus on materials to enhance the stability of implant support bridges to ensure that they are able to resist lateral displacement forces.