If you’ve got advanced gum disease, you know how devastating it can be. Left unchecked, it will destroy your connective and periodontal tissues alike. It’s an infection that can cause pain, tooth mobility, and tooth loss.
And the microbes involved are associated with other health problems such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. Gum disease may make diabetes worse, and diabetes may be a risk factor for gum disease – a total catch-22.
Treatment typically starts with periodontal therapy. Depending on the stage of your infection, this can involve root planning, scaling, soft tissue grafts, bone grafts, and more. The goal: Stop stop the inflammatory process going on in your mouth.
Results can range from partial tissue regeneration to healing, but this, too, depends on how far the disease has progressed. In severe cases, though therapy can regenerate some tissue, it offers limited potential for complete restoration.
But that may be changing thanks to platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) – something we currently use in our office for a variety of surgical procedures. It’s made by spinning a small sample of your own blood in a centrifuge so it forms a thin membrane that’s shaped and placed over a surgical site. The platelets are a natural source of growth factors, while the membrane also contains a high number of white blood cells, the part of the blood most involved in healing. Because it comes from your own blood, it’s totally biocompatible.
According to research in the Saudi Journal of Dental Research, it may also be helpful for regenerating periodontal (gum) tissue. Why?
It forms a strong natural structure, concentrating almost all the platelets and growth factors of the blood. This creates a healing structure with unique mechanical properties.
It enhances wound healing and regeneration.
It’s better than other platelet concentrates due to its ease and method of preparation.
Research suggests that providing PRF after periodontal therapy may speed up healing, promote tissue repair, and aid in the development of new blood vessels. It also appears to boost the immune response, promote anti-infectious activities, and may remodel both the tissue and bone matrix during wound healing.
In a healthy mouth, bone and tissue serve as the foundation that keep your teeth in position. With gum disease, that foundation is weakened. In that weakened state, PRF may offer a scaffold-like support necessary for engineering repair that mimics your body’s own.
Of course, YOU still play the most important role in managing the other factors that support optimum healing. Controlling plaque, quitting nicotine, improving diet, managing stress, and getting enough good sleep and exercise will always be critical. Always.
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