Stem Cell Grafting

What is stem cell grafting?

Stem Cell grafting is the latest technology in helping bone to grow in deficient parts of the jaw. Stem cells are special cells that are found in the marrow of “flat” bones such as the hip or chest. The stem cells have the ability to multiply and become other tissue such as bone, cartilage, hair or skin. Stem cells are gathered by needle aspiration from the hipbone and placed against the jawbone. In four months, the stem cells “know” how to change into bone and make the region suitable for dental implants. The use of stem cells is revolutionary because the patient’s own live cells are used to create bone.

Other dental offices mainly use freeze-dried powder bone (cow bone, artificial bone and other people's bone) but powders alone do not have any “live” cells and are less likely to result in bone.

What is PRP?

PRP is produced from a person's own blood. It is a concentration of one type of cell, known as platelets, which circulate through the blood and are critical for blood clotting. Platelets and the liquid plasma portion of the blood contain many factors that are essential for the cell recruitment, multiplication and specialization that are required for healing.

After a blood sample is obtained from a patient, the blood is put into a centrifuge, which is a tool that separates the blood into its many components.

Is PRP treatment effective?

Several basic science studies in animal models suggest that PRP treatment can improve healing in soft tissue and bone. For example, increased numbers of cells and improved extraction of root canals and cavitations. These favorable findings in animal models have led to the widespread use of PRP treatment for a variety of conditions.

Overall, there is limited support for PRP treatment in published clinical studies. However, because PRP is created from a patient's own blood, it is considered a relatively low-risk treatment with the potential to improve or speed healing.

Concerns involving PRP treatment

Because PRP is given in the hopes of optimizing the initial inflammatory response of healing, anti-inflammatory medications should likely be stopped at the time of PRP treatment.

Also, PRP does contain endogenous growth factors, so some agencies consider it to be a performance-enhancing substance. For instance, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency forbid the injection of PRP within muscles because of the possibility that the growth factors could enhance a person's performance. However, there are currently no data to suggest that PRP is actually a performance-enhancing substance. Major professional sports leagues have not yet addressed the topic of PRP.

Key Points to Remember

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) comes from a patient's own blood.
  • PRP is a concentrated source of growth factors and cellular signaling factors that play a significant role in the biology of healing.
  • Basic science studies show that PRP treatment may improve healing in many tissues.
  • Few clinical studies in humans show the effectiveness of PRP treatment.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines should be stopped before and after PRP treatment is given.
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