How We Use PRP to Speed Bone Graft Healing

A regenerative medicine technique that has been receiving much attention recently is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and it’s showing tremendous results in the oral surgery field. One problem that arises from tooth loss and long-term denture use is deterioration of the bone tissue in the jaw.

The need for bone grafts

This bone is stimulated by the roots of your natural teeth, so after tooth loss, this interaction ends, and bone mass is lost. If you’re opting for dental implants to permanently replace missing teeth, for example, there may be insufficient bone to accept the implant post. This post serves as a substitute tooth root, restoring the bone stimulation, making implants the best method to replace lost teeth.

Bone grafts can often be used to build up the jaw so that there’s enough tissue to successfully accept an implant. It’s not, however, a fast process. There are delays as the bone graft fuses with the jaw. This must be healed fully before the implant is placed. This is where PRP therapy comes in.

How PRP is made

One of the advantages of PRP therapy is that it’s drug-free. Since it’s made from your own blood, PRP is completely biocompatible, and the only risk involved is that of infection, the same as any time you have a needle, such as for allergy shots or immunizations.

Your blood sample is concentrated using a centrifuge, a process that separates heavier blood components, primarily platelets. Platelets are the blood component responsible for coagulating and scab formation, but that’s only part of their job.

Platelets and growth factors

Platelets also carry human growth factor hormones. These act as resources for your body’s self-healing system. If you’ve had a bone graft, your body draws on these growth factors from your normal blood supply. Injecting PRP into the area of the bone graft provides a concentration of growth factors that’s much higher than your circulatory system can provide.

Bone morphogenetic protein

One of these growth factors has a subfamily that includes bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), which specifically starts bone tissue regeneration. When used with dental bone grafts, more bone can be grown quickly and predictably, which reduces the overall time needed to complete the implant process.

PRP therapy may also help with the implant procedure by speeding osseointegration, the process where the bone of the jaw and the post of the implant fuse together. This process must be sufficiently advanced before the permanent crown portion of the implant can be placed.

BMP is only one of the growth factors packed into platelets, and assisting oral surgery procedures is hardly the only application of PRP therapy. Other growth factors in PRP can help transform stem cells into the tissue needed for a variety of other regenerative processes. Hard-to-treat injuries such as tennis elbow and osteoarthritis are other examples.

At Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant Center, we are experts at all aspects of dental implant procedures, as well as other oral surgery techniques. Call the office today, or request an appointment on our website if you’d like to learn more about dental implants and how PRP can speed the process.

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