Our bodies are marvels of self-healing. White blood cells fight infection. Osteoblast cells work to restore broken bones. Skin cells regenerate to repair small injuries daily. So naturally, some of the most exciting innovations in medicine are ways to help our bodies do their repair work more quickly and efficiently. The use of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in dental surgeries is one such innovation.
Refresh my memory on platelets?
Our blood has four primary components, which we normally think of in terms of these traditional biological functions:
- Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the cells throughout the body
- White blood cells protect against and fight infection
- Platelets promote blood clotting after an injury
- Plasma, the liquid component of blood, moves all of these cells, along with nutrients and other substances, throughout the body.
But, of course, the science of our blood is more complex than these blood basics, and platelets do much more than help us reduce bleeding after an injury.
In fact, platelets are not really cells, but cell fragments. They have no nucleus and live only five to nine days. Yet, they play a crucial role in the healing process.
Components of platelets called alpha granules contain growth factors. These growth factors are vital in wound healing. When the body suffers an injury, platelets are rushed to the site, where the numerous proteins present in various growth factors are released into the wound. There, they stimulate stem cells to produce new tissue. There is even a growth factor called bone morphogenetic protein which specifically mobilizes cells to produce new bone tissue.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Wait! No need to refresh my memory quite so thoroughly!” In that case, let’s look at how Dr. Bentz can use a concentration of your own platelets to enhance the healing process after oral surgery.
It’s clear how important platelets are for dental patients: not only do they reduce bleeding, but they promote soft tissue healing and even bone regeneration. Moving more platelets to the surgical site would provide more growth factors to recovering cells more quickly, leading to accelerated healing and regeneration. This is the function of Platelet-Rich Plasma.
After a small amount of your blood is collected, it is centrifuged in order to concentrate a large number of platelets in a small amount of plasma. This process takes only about 15 minutes, and can be done in our East Norriton, PA oral surgery office. It is then ready for immediate use, usually mixed with a bone grafting material.
Which oral surgeries can benefit from PRP?
Studies have shown beneficial results in bone regeneration and density, as well as accelerated soft tissue healing, when PRP is used in procedures such as:
- Dental implant surgery
- Sinus lifts
- Ridge augmentation
- Treating bone loss after tooth extraction
- Periodontal surgery
In fact, Dr. Bentz might recommend PRP for any surgery where more rapid bone regeneration and enhanced soft tissue healing are desirable.
PRP is a safe addition to oral surgery procedures
The platelets are furnished by your own body, so there is no danger of rejection, reaction, or disease transmission. Aging patients, in particular, might benefit from the regenerative and healing properties of Platelet-Rich Plasma.
If you are planning on oral surgery in the near future, you’ve probably made a wish list: a skilled surgeon, the most effective surgical procedure for your needs, and a quick, healthy recovery.
By choosing an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you have already made sure of the first two items on your list.
As for your recovery time? If you are scheduled for any surgery that would benefit from bone or tissue regeneration, ask Dr. Bentz about Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy. Using your own platelets to accelerate healing? That’s a true marvel!