An exciting treatment gaining acceptance in orthopedics and sports medicine, called platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), is showing strong potential for accelerated healing of dental implant procedures, according to a prominent dental researcher and editor of the Journal of Oral Implantology.
James Rutkowski, DMD, PhD, reported at the recent annual scientific meeting of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry that platelet-rich plasma therapy can accelerate bone and tissue growth and wound healing and help assure long-term success of dental implant placements.
"What could be better than using the body's own regenerative powers to grow bone and soft tissue safely and quickly? For dental implant procedures, PRP treatments can jump start bone growth and implant adherence in just two weeks, which cuts down the time between implant placement and affixing the permanent crown," said Rutkowski.
Platelet-rich plasma is obtained from a small sample of the patient's own blood. It is centrifuged to separate platelet growth factors from red blood cells. The concentration of platelets triggers rapid growth of new bone and soft tissue. "There is very little risk because we are accelerating the natural process in which the body heals itself," said Rutkowski. "PRP speeds up the healing process at the cellular level, and there is virtually no risk for allergic reaction or rejection because we use the patient's own blood."
Rutkowski noted that some orthopedic physicians have been using PRP with success for painful and hard to treat injuries like tennis elbow, tendonitis and ligament damage. An avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Rutkowski couldn't resist mentioning that PRP was used in 2009 pre-game Super Bowl treatment for two Steeler players (Heinz Ward and Troy Polamalo), and both were instrumental in the team winning its 6th Super Bowl.
For dental surgery applications, Rutkowski explained that PRP is mixed as a gel that can be applied directly in tooth sockets and other sites. It also is effective in cases when bone grafts are required to foster proper bone integration for implants. Growth factors in PRP preparations help the grafts bond faster with the patient's own bone. Rutkowski reported that in one of his studies there was increased radiographic bone density during the initial two weeks following PRP treatment when compared to sites that did not receive PRP treatment.
"Accelerated healing is a goal we've been seeking in implant dentistry and we now have treatment that activates the natural healing process. It is a very promising development for implant dentistry," explained Rutkowski. He estimates that about 10 percent of practicing implant dentists have used PRP treatment and predicts it will become more common as more studies are performed.
American Academy of Implant Dentistry