Recovering from an oral surgery should be more than pain management. Sometimes, after facial trauma, dental implant or wisdom tooth surgery, our body needs a bit of help healing. And the best way to help someone heal is holistically, which is where platelet-rich-fibrin (PRF) comes in.
Platelet rich fibrin (PRF) is a recently-developed technology that uses the patient’s own blood to accelerate healing and minimize pain after an oral surgery. It’s a plasma-rich mesh that saturates the wounded area with growth factors, giving it a boost in its healing abilities.
PRF is beneficial in both hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. The slow and gradual release of growth factors improves tissue regeneration. Even better, PRF can be used alongside dental bone grafts. The advantages of PRF help us maximize healing and minimize patient discomfort, which is why Wilmington Oral Surgery now offers advanced-PRF for our patients.
What’s the Process of Adding a PRF Treatment to Oral Surgery?
The process of creating platelet-rich-fibrin is simple, requires no foreign substances like coagulators, and happens right in our office. As well, the blood sample needed is small. After we extract the patient’s blood, the sample is put in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes. This separates the different components of your blood into 3 layers.
The top layer is a platelet concentrate, the lower layer are the red blood cells, and the middle layer is the platelet-rich-fibrin. It’s essentially a tonne of platelets trapped in a fibrin mesh, and has a concentration of platelets 10x the normal level in the blood.
Platelets are chocked full of growth factors – the cells that promote healing and tissue regeneration. The extracted PRF is then applied to the wound from the oral procedure, where it settles and serves as a nutrient source and a signal for the body to send even more healing efforts to the area.
Safety Advantages of PRF in Oral Surgery Recovery
- No foreign body reaction – since the PRF is made from the patient’s own cells, there is nearly no risk of disease transmission or rejection.
- Release of growth factors – a number of growth factors are gradually released from the PRF. Three prominent factors (VEGF, PDGF, and TGF-beta) play critical roles in the healing process.
- White blood cells are involved – leukocytes (white blood cells) are incorporated into the PRF, which also provide growth factors and protect against infection.
- Minimal blood manipulation – previous generations of platelet-rich treatments required additives and extra intervention in preparing the blood. PRF treatments don’t, which is why they have higher success and safety in clinical uses.
PRF and Healing from Mouth Surgery: Clinical Applications
The other features of platelet-rich-fibrin that make it such an advantageous and natural way to help patients heal from their mouth surgeries are two-fold. One, it’s a quick, in-office treatment that doesn’t require an additional procedure. Two, PRF offers a wide array of applications:
- Regeneration of bone at the time of tooth removal – PRF placed into the extraction site.
- Regeneration of bone in areas of bone deficiency – PRF can be combined with the bone grafting materials, and also used as a membrane over the grafting.
- PRF can be utilized for sinus grafting, to protect the sinus lining and also help stabilize the grafting materials.
- Immediate implant placement – PRF works well to fill in minor gaps between the implant and native bone.
- Soft tissue grafting – PRF promotes soft tissue healing and helps to minimize tissue inflammation.
- Bone regeneration after removal of cysts.
- Closure of sinus communication or fistula.
- A recent case report used PRF to treat medication-associated osteonecrosis (i.e. – Fosamax) – these cases of osteonecrosis have been very difficult to treat with predictable results.
Optimizing PRF with Thorough Post-Op Care
As with any kind of surgery, patients need to do their part to aid in their recovery – it helps your body and the PRF perform their best. We suggest to our patients to take the following steps after oral surgery:
- Avoid drinking anything that requires sucking through a straw.
- Avoid strenuous activities; they require you to put strain on the muscles in your face.
- Brush and floss gently, and never directly over the area (i.e. dental implant site, wisdom tooth extraction site, etc.).
- Don’t consume tobacco.
- Gently swish with warm salt water a couple times a day.
- Use natural treatments like garlic and clove oil to prevent infection and lessen pain.
Patient-Focused, Gentle Care Before, During & After Oral Surgery
Our maxillofacial surgery practice prides itself on our skilled oral surgeon and our staff’s ability to provide gentle oral care that makes the patient’s experience a priority. Careful assessment, detailed planning, and an efficient process throughout the oral surgery means less anxiety, pain and healing time for our patients, no matter how invasive the surgical procedure on your mouth is.
Proper at-home aftercare for any oral surgery is key once you get home from our office, but we make sure you start off your healing in the best condition. And any questions or concerns you have throughout the process? Give us a call any time.