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Platelet-Rich Plasma Helps Tooth Extraction Sites Heal Faster

By Alice G. Walton

A recent study has found that applying platelet-rich plasma to the site of tooth extraction significantly improves the healing process. Platelets are cells in the blood that are responsible for helping the blood clot after injury.

Bone loss is a common result after tooth extraction surgery. Because bone formation is a slow process, it normally takes about sixteen weeks for the socket to heal completely, according to researchers. And if the site doesn’t heal properly, it can lead to expensive reconstructive surgery, which may or may not correct the problem. According to the study, led by James L. Rutkowski, previous attempts to use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) have not been so successful because they were expensive and inconvenient. In the new study, the authors outline a simpler, cheaper method of using PRP in the healing process, which they call the “Buffy-Coat” technique, or BC-PRP.

The research team followed participants who underwent wisdom tooth extraction. They applied PRP to one side of the mouth and left the other side untreated, which served as a control. At various intervals in the 24-week follow-up period, the team x-rayed the patients to measure the changes in their jaw bone density, as well as other factors like inflammation, pain, and bleeding.

The results were promising. Rutkowski and his team write that “PRP accelerated bone formation and decreased the time necessary to return to full function.” How much faster did the PRP-treated side heal? The authors say that “[i]t required 6 weeks for control extraction sites to reach comparable bone density that PRP treated sites achieved at week 1,” which is a considerable acceleration in the healing process. The treatment didn’t seem to affect other variables, like inflammation or pain.

The authors sum up their findings by saying that “[t]he results of this study suggest that the use of a simple, cost-effective BC-PRP method to increase the rate of bone formation and decrease healing time in the initial 2 weeks following oral surgery may be beneficial.”

James L. Rutkoswki is a researcher at Duquesne University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The study was published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology.

May 8, 2010


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