When it comes to dental work, biocompatibility is crucial. Always, we want to be sure that any materials we use in replacing or restoring teeth are a good match for a patient’s individual biochemistry. This is why, for instance, we use BPA-free composite resins when we need to fill teeth and not mercury amalgam.
The single most biocompatible material, however, is a substance we use to naturally support healing from various surgical procedures: platelet rich fibrin (PRF), which is derived from a small sample of the patient’s own blood.
Both platelets and fibrin are involved with blood clotting, an important part of healing. Platelets are tiny components in your blood that are rich in growth factors. When stimulated, they begin the clotting process.
Once enough platelets have arrived at a wound, they begin to form a clot to stop excessive bleeding. They also release substances that begin the next phase of healing. This includes biochemical reactions that accelerate the development of proteins to strengthen the clot – proteins known as fibrin.
By creating fibrin membranes from your own blood and placing them over a surgical site – a “wound” – we can help promote faster, better, more pain-free healing. Here’s how we do it:
Because it’s made from your own blood cells, PRF is 100% biocompatible. There are no synthetic or animal-derived products involved.
One of the most common uses of PRF is to support healing after an extraction, where we place it over the surgical site before suturing. The PRF stimulates the regeneration of both hard and soft tissues, as well as capillary formation, which increases blood flow to the site.
In addition to supporting healing, this step also helps reduce the risk of a cavitation forming at the surgical site.
Similarly, PRF reduces the risk of dry socket, as well. This painful condition occurs when a blood clot fails to form at the extraction site or dislodges from it. One study of wisdom tooth removal found that just 1% of patients developed dry socket when PRF was used. When PRF wasn’t used, the rate jumped to 9.5%
PRF is also effective for treating dry socket when it does occur. According to one Korean study,
PRF showed early pain reduction in established dry socket with minimal analgesic intake. No patients had allergic reactions to PRF as it is derived from the patient’s own blood. PRF showed good wound healing. Our study suggests that PRF should be considered as a treatment modality for established dry socket.
Yet another way PRF can be used is to enhance the stability of dental implants by encouraging their integration with the supporting bone.
Basically, a dental implant is meant to function as a tooth root onto which a crown can be placed. It’s situated in the jawbone. If there’s been bone loss, though – as is often the case – PRF can help restore or preserve its height, creating a good foundation for the implant.
A recent scientific review evaluated a dozen randomized controlled trials of human studies using PRF for bone regeneration and implant therapy. Only three of the 12 studies showed no benefit. Nine of them, however,
showed superior outcomes for PRF for any of the evaluated variables, such as ridge dimension, bone regeneration, osseointegration process, soft tissue healing.
We are pleased to be able to offer PRF to surgical patients in our holistic dental office in Fremont. In a way, it epitomizes biological dentistry’s approach to oral-systemic health: supporting the body’s own amazing healing abilities.