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Snake venom may speed healing after oral surgery

An adhesive made from an enzyme found in snake venom may be a more effective and beneficial adhesive than traditional sutures when used to close surgical incisions, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

Researchers performed gingival graft procedures in contralateral mandibular premolars of 15 patients, so that each subject received one treatment of each type. When the investigators used the fibrin adhesive made of buffalo plasma-derived fibrinogen (a protein involved in coagulation) and an enzyme obtained from snake venom, patients experienced faster recovery and had better results than they did with traditional sutures.

"This unique type of adhesive may stimulate faster tissue repair," said study author Monica Barbosa, PhD, Bauru Dental School, University of São Paulo, Brazil. "It is a more natural form of adhesive in comparison to traditional sutures used after surgery."

"More studies are needed to fully evaluate the effectiveness of this alternative," Dr. Barbosa added.

"This adhesive may be a less infectious alternative to traditional sutures," said Preston D. Miller, president, American Academy of Periodontology. "This research highlights the array of therapies available for patients—both traditional and natural alternatives."

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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