India’s Ministry of Textiles reportedly planning to develop fabric implants

Indian business publication Mint reported that the Union textiles ministry is planning to develop a fabric-based tooth implant intended as a replacement for implants made from ceramics, polymers, and composites.

fabric implant
(Image: macrovector/ Freepik)

According to two undisclosed sources who are informed of the development, Mint reported that the ministry’s plan involves using dental resins made from polyester to restore and replace tooth structure, with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to conduct research to develop the technology. The process will go through different levels of testing, including clinical trials on humans.

“The process is at the preparation stage and consultation with stakeholders is planned to lay out the strategy. The project is very costly and will take at least five years to develop a prototype,” said one of the sources.

The business publication added that this development of fabric-based teeth is part of the ministry’s National Technical Textiles Mission, which falls under the category of medical textiles. Based on an interim budget presented on 1 February 2024, the government has increased allocation for the National Technical Textile Mission from approximately US$20m (₹170crore) to $44.9m (₹375crore).

The sources further disclosed that key objective behind the plan is to make tooth implants a cost-effective process and the research for developing medical textiles will require a significant budget allocation. The technology will be shared with private players for manufacturing to make it economically viable.

Mint reported that queries sent to spokespersons of the ministries of Textiles, Health & Family Welfare and Education which remained unanswered at press time.

Mint also highlighted differing viewpoints over development of fabric implants. It quoted the former president of Dental Council of India Dr Dibyendu Mazumdar hailing the move, stating that the project aims to make India self-reliant in the tooth implant segment. Conversely, it noted Dr Amit Kumar Sharma, head of the dental department at NIMS Dental College and Hospital in Jaipur, viewing that a tooth implant entirely based on fabric is not feasible as the fabric needed to be combined with metal for better strength and longevity.

The publication reported that globally, alternative dental implant materials include titanium and its alloys, gold alloys, stainless steel, and alloys of cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium. Fabric-based teeth, too, are used in many developing economies such as Germany and the US, among others. The dental implants market is growing due to increasing demand for cosmetic dentistry—apart from incidents of tooth loss—and advancements in dental implant technology.

As per a World Health Organization (WHO) report, the worldwide market for dental implants was estimated at $9.27bn in 2022 and $10.09bn in 2023, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.95% to reach $18.42bn by 2030.

Related: Glidewell unveils new Glidewell HT(TM) implant system