Jaw Bone Healing Help

A new treatment to speed up recovery of wound sites after a tooth extraction may be on the horizon.

Poor healing and bone loss in the jaw can be complications following an extraction—resulting in a delay for a patient waiting for a tooth replacement or even requiring reconstructive surgery.

A recent study has shown that treatment with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) at the extraction site significantly decreased bone healing time.

Six patients participating in the small study received third molar (wisdom tooth) extractions in both jaws. One site was treated with PRP and the other was not. Patients returned for evaluation and X-rays three days after surgery, then at weeks one, two, three, four, six, eight, 12, 16, 20 and 24. Observers looked each extraction site for tissue opening, bleeding, inflammation, facial swelling and pain.

Early X-rays showed a significant increase in bone density in the PRP-treated sites. At six weeks, control sites had the same bone density that the treated sites had at week one.

The PRP treatment had a positive effect on bone density immediately following tooth extraction, said the researchers, while the control sites had a decrease in bone density during the first week after surgery.

Patients didn't report significant differences in pain, bleeding, numbness, facial swelling or temperature between the two sites, according to the study.

Speeding up bone formation after an extraction could benefit patients who need dental implants or dentures by reducing their healing time and the wait for reconstructive dental work. Normal healing time without using PRP can be up to 16 weeks.

The results of this study suggest that the use of a simple, cost-effective method to increase the rate of bone formation and decrease healing time in the initial two weeks following oral surgery may be beneficial, the researchers said.

What should you expect when having a tooth extraction? Log on to ADA.org for more information.

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Tips for Pain Management After TOOTH REMOVAL

Here are a few tips to help minimize your discomfort and speed recovery:

  • You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Alternate 20 minute on and 20 minutes off.

  • Eat soft and cool foods for a few days.

  • Starting 24 hours after surgery, swish with warm salt water. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.

  • You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was.