We’re always interested in new develpments that can help aid our patients and not only make their experience with us more comfortable but also promote their overall health. One area that is showing some interesting developments is in relation to tooth extractions and the possible prevention of bone loss at the site of the extraction.
Like Pulling Teeth
If your dentist recommends a tooth extraction, it could be due to one of a few reasons:
- to remove a damaged or decayed tooth
- to avoid a crowded mouth and prepare for orthodontia as teeth move into place
- to extract teeth loosened by periodontal disease, which affects the support of the tissue and bones surrounding the tooth
- to extract teeth infected due to medicines that weaken the immune system
Whether a simple extraction with forceps and a local anesthetic or a surgical extraction requiring incision into the gum and possible general anesthesia, the end desired result is the same – extraction of a damaged, decayed or over-crowding tooth.
There are a few potential and obvious side effects related to tooth extraction such as post-extraction tenderness/pain and swelling. There is also one serious side effect that is not immediately thought of – bone loss.
Bone Loss with Tooth Extraction
The sac-like bone in our jaws is called alveolar bone. All bone needs stimulation to stay healthy and dense. When a tooth is pulled and not replaced, that constant stimulation is gone, resulting in a 25% decrease in bone width in the first year after the loss of a tooth. As the width, and subsequently height, decrease, so does the gum line. Basal bone, which we recognize as the jawbone, lies beneath the aveolar bone. Once the aveolar bone is gone, the basal bone begins to be affected as well. This can present both cosmetic and functional problems as the loss worsens.
Use of High Frequency Acceleration in Tooth Extraction
In a recent study by the New York University College of Dentistry, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Institute Polytechnic of Viseu, Portugal, researchers studied the use of High Frequency Acceleration (HFA) for the preservation of alveolar bone after a tooth extraction.
The researchers studied three groups: control, static and HFA. The control group did not receive any HFA, the static group received a static load, or pressure, where as the HFA group received 5 minutes of applied vibrations a day to the location of the tooth extraction. After analyzing results, researchers found that the HFA increased bone volume by 44% compared to the static group.
This safe and noninvasive treatment could potentially be used to aid in controlling or preventing aveolar bone loss in patients post-tooth extraction and is an interesting development.
Note: Information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified dental and medical health providers with questions you may have regarding your specific dental or medical conditions.