There are so many things that I get to work with that I never could have even dreamed about back in the early 80’s when I was in dental school.
Just in recent months we’ve added PRP science to the surgical services we offer at the office. You might have heard of PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) from stories involving famous athletes. Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant all agreed to PRP treatments with hopes it would speed their healing following injury.
In the early moments following an injury blood platelets are among the first cells that respond to initiate healing. Not only are platelets critical to the coagulation/clotting of blood, but they also are vital suppliers of important healing factors. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b) are all involved in the process of forming new blood vessels (angiogenesis) into an area of hard or soft tissue injury.
Years ago some physicians theorized that the injection of a patient’s own PRP into an area of injury would have the potential to speed recovery. Today this form of treatment is controversial at best, and, at the very least, not yet supported by ongoing research.
Within the realm of dental surgery however, use of PRP seems to hold significant promise. Here’s how it works. A small quantity of the patient’s blood is collected prior to surgery. The blood is spun down in a centrifuge to separate the red cells from a platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) clot. When compressed the fibrin clot will separate into a thin membrane and a red, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) liquid.
Titanium dental implants, at the time of placement, can be coated in the patient’s own PRP as they are placed to promote healing of the bone and ultimate bone integration to the implant surface. And bone grafting procedures are even more remarkably enhanced. In the past we would use freeze-dried bone particles mixed with an inert binder paste to create a putty that could be placed into areas where we wanted new bone growth. Today we mix the freeze-dried bone with the patient’s own PRP. Can you imagine a more natural process than the concentration of a patient’s own healing factors into a site where we are looking to promote new bone growth? In addition, the graft materials can be covered and retained by the patient’s own PRF membrane sutured in place over the graft site.
Between our CEREC CAD-CAM technology, that allows us to restore teeth with crowns, bridges, inlays or onlays within a single appointment, our 3-D computerized tomography x-ray equipment that enables precise dental implant placement, and now the addition of PRP-enhanced healing at the sites of dental surgery, it leaves me wondering might yet be still to come within the remainder of my dental career. Who says dentistry can’t be exciting?
Dr. Davis is especially good with kids. And his staff? Helpful, compassionate, and caring. They take care of business for you. Thumbs up. 10 on a scale of 5.