What's are Cavitations?
A cavitation is really a colloquial term for “ischemic bone disease” or “sites of alternate healing” which means either an active infection or abnormal tissue growth in the bone of the maxilla or mandible. Ischemic Bone Disease aka “IBD” or cavitations are also called Chronic Ischemic Jawbone Disease – “CIBD”. Chronic ischemic bone disease is a name used to describe a disease process involving pathological changes in the bone tissue related to impaired blood flow (ischemia). In the jawbones these pathological changes are usually triggered by a combination of systemic and oral factors.
In the jaws CIBD can be complicated by the presence of chronic infections that can be related to periodontal and dental infections, including chronically infected root-canaled teeth. The fact that the jaws contain branches of the 5th cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve) is also an situation unique to the jawbones. The frequent use of local anesthetics with vasoconstrictors (drugs that shrinks blood vessels, like epinephrine) can also exacerbate the problem, in addition to the use of other pharmaceutical drugs such as corticosteroids. Toxins such as heavy metals (lead, mercury, nickel, cadmium) and acetaldehyde are contributory factors and trauma in any form can also play a role
Although cavitations can go undetected for years in an otherwise healthy person, jaw pain sometimes occurs in patients suffering from bone lesions and sometimes jaw pain will manifest after a sinus infection, which can then also lead to the discovery of a cavitation. But it seems that the vast majority of people seeking to discover whether or not they have cavitations are those also suffering from other chronic health issues. It is the overriding health condition that has brought them back to the dentist seeking ways to cut down on potential toxins flowing into the bloodstream.
The only available treatment for cavitations at this time is surgical removal. Because of the lack of blood flow inside a cavitation, standard medications or drugs cannot reach these lesions. Even homeopathic remedies will only work best during the healing process once the lesion is removed and the blood flow is re-established.
The surgery basically consists of an incision in the gum to expose the defect in the bone, and then scraping the area clean (debridement) to remove the unhealthy and/or diseased tooth and bone. Very often a biopsy is taken so that the disease process can be documented. Both hand and rotary instruments are used with sterile saline irrigation to remove the diseased tissue from the site. Packing and or grafting material may be placed in the surgical wound, and then it is sutured closed.
Appropriate medications are prescribed, and written post-operative home care instructions are given. Because of the virulence of the disease process in the cavitation areas, it is sometimes necessary to repeat the surgical intervention to completely heal the lesion.
Cavitations are essentially a disease of the jawbone. That disease is caused by certain strains of bacteria that can eat away at the bone or cause other systemic issues. To determine exactly which strains of bacteria are present, we send all potential cavitation sites off to have a biopsy run. We only operate when needed, so the biopsy is very important.