Scientists have been able to combine biological and mechanical techniques to repair and regenerate bone and gum tissue.

To treat the condition, researchers surgically implanted a thin, film-like membrane between the inflamed gum and tooth. This membrane blocks the infection from the gums and delivers antibiotics, medication and growth factors to the gum tissue.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, describes the impact of tooth loss and believes the research could be extremely promising.

Dr Carter says: 'Millions of people across the world lose teeth from periodontitis and it can have severe bearing on everyday life. Missing teeth can make eating, smiling and speaking more difficult. It can also have an impact on our confidence and mental well-being, as well as increase the risk of developing general health problems.

'Scientific breakthroughs in similar fields have already led to developments in many other areas of healthcare, such as prosthetics and tissue regeneration. These have helped millions of people gain a better quality of life and this cutting-edge research has the potential to do the same in the future. This study has significant potential and we shall look forward to human trials.'

As part of the study, researchers created a membrane which was coated with a special material that has been found to speed up bone regeneration. They then tested this against human stem cells from the gums which had been exposed to erosion for eight weeks.

Co-author of the study, Alireza Moshaverinia says: 'We've determined that our membranes were able to slow down periodontal infection, promote bone and tissue regeneration.

'We've also figured out a way to prolong the drug delivery timeline, which is key for effective wound healing. We see this application expanding beyond periodontitis treatment to other areas needing expedited wound healing and prolonged drug delivery therapeutics.'

The study was published last week in ACS Nano, a journal published by the American Chemical Society.