Institute for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Most everyone has heard about Vampire Facials. For people on the hunt for a unique and effective facial treatment, many people have found the tremendous benefits of “Vampire Facials.” Technically referred to as a platelet-rich plasms (PRP) facial, this type of treatment got its name based on the blood-based procedure used. In recent years, doctors have learned that the body has properties in it that greatly promote self-healing. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that can harness those abilities and amplify the natural growth factors your body uses to heal tissue.
What is plasma and what are platelets?
Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood. It is composed largely of water and proteins, and it provides a substrate for red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to circulate through the body. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are blood cells that primarily cause blood clots, but they also contain many other necessary growth healing functions. Platelets play a KEY role in the body’s natural healing process.
What is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and what are PRP injections?
In medicine, especially regenerative medicine, platelet-rich plasma therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. These techniques use each individual patient’s own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.
PRP is harvested by taking from one to a few tubes of your own blood and running it through a centrifuge in a special process to concentrate the platelets. In medicine, PRP has been found to significantly enhance the healing process and shown to improve function and reduce pain.
Advantages of PRP
Some of the key advantages of PRP are that they can reduce the need for anti-inflammatories or stronger medications like opioids. In addition, the side effects of PRP are almost non-existent because, since the injections are created from your own blood, your body will not reject or react negatively to them. Also, the concentration of advanced healing and growth factors, increase your own body’s healing potential exponentially.
Gum recession occurs when gum tissue wears away, exposing areas of the tooth root that should be covered by gums and bone. This recession may lead to increased sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. It also exposes areas of the tooth that don’t have a protective coating which makes the tooth more susceptible to decay and other issues. Because gum recession tends to happen slowly with rarely any pain or discomfort, many people do not realize it is happening to them. If left untreated, gum recession will eventually lead to tooth loss with progression.
Gum grafting is a type of dental surgery performed to correct the effects of gum recession. It is a surgery, where traditionally, a periodontist removes healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and uses it to build the gum back up where it has receded. It has been a proven technique that has been performed successfully for well over 50 years.
Types of grafts
Traditionally, there are a variety of gum grafts available , and the type of surgery depends on the extent and severity of damage, the condition of the remaining soft tissue, and a person’s individual needs.
- Connective tissue grafts: In this procedure the periodontist removes tissue from the roof of the mouth by making a flap and taking tissue from underneath the top layer, stitches the tissue onto the existing gum tissue to cover the exposed tooth root, and then stitches the flap on the roof of the mouth where they took the tissue.
- Free gingival grafts: This is the preferred method for people with thin gums who require extra tissue to enlarge the gums. The periodontist grafts tissue directly from the top layer of tissue on the roof of the mouth and stitches the tissue to the existing gum area.
- Pedicle grafts: This is the preferred method for people who have abundant gum tissue growing near the exposed tooth. In this procedure, the periodontist grafts tissue from the gum around or near the tooth needing treatment. The tissue is only sectioned leaving one edge intact. This tissue is then repositioned covering the exposed tooth root and held in place with stitches.
Variations on traditional grafts
Because the types of grafts mentioned above do come with some risks and involve multiple surgical sites, other methods that modify their technique have been developed. One modification of connective tissue grafts and free gingival grafts is done using AlloDerm. AlloDerm is a donor tissue that comes from human donor tissue, thus eliminating the need to remove tissue from the roof of your own mouth. The donated tissue is minimally processed leaving a dermal matrix that provides a guide for your body to use expanding on the available gingival tissue using its own regeneration process. Donors are screened for contagious diseases, and a review of medical records and social history are also performed before the tissue is considered for processing. The downfall to this type of graft is that there are no cells that promote healing or growth. The tissue is foreign, so sometimes there can be an inflammatory response or delayed healing.
Another very popular variation is the Pinhole technique. In this technique, a less aggressive manipulation of the gum tissue is performed through a tiny “pinhole” puncture. The gum is freed up and elevated to cover the root of the tooth. Tiny strips of collagen are packed under the gum tissue to support it in place and act as a matrix to allow new tissue to repopulate the area. The advantages are that no tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth so there is no additional surgery site, and with the pinhole technique, multiple areas can be addressed simultaneously. The negatives are that patient compliance is a MUST. The healing period is 6-8 weeks before a patient can function on the area or begin normal oral hygiene. Another negative is that there are no cells present that promote healing or growth.
Vampire Gum Rejuvenation(tm)
In a quest to improve on the mousetrap, Dr. Lance Culley thought there had to be a way to provide the benefits of less invasive surgery but have the benefit of a quick healing with cells present that could promote growth. The opportunity arose where a patient, for religious reasons, could have no materials used in the surgery other than tissue harvested from themselves. This patient had other health issues that made it very risky to harvest palatal tissue. After discussions with the patient of possibilities, risks and outcomes, Dr. Culley decided to attempt to use PRP harvested from the patient as the graft. The outcomes were amazing. At the 2 week follow-up, there was 100% root coverage in a severe defect that would have been difficult to correct using any existing techniques. The area was healed beyond what would normally be expected using tissue from the roof of the mouth. Dr. Culley used this technique in several other patients with equal success. At that time, he decided to Trademark the technique as Vampire Gum Rejuvenation(tm). The benefits of the technique are: multiple areas of the mouth can be treated at the same time; there is no second surgical site; there is no chance of disease transmission because only the patient’s own blood is used; there is no chance of rejection; there are cells that promote healing, reduce swelling, and reduce post-op pain; more severe defects can be repaired; and patients can resume normal activities sooner than with other techniques.
Am I a candidate?
Almost everyone is a candidate. The following conditions would negate you as a candidate for PRP and for the Vampire Gum Rejuvenation ™ technique.
- Critical thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
- Hypofibrinogenemia (deficient fibrin in the blood)
- Haemodynamic instability (collapse)
- Sepsis (infection)
- Acute and chronic infections
- Chronic liver disease
- Anti-coagulation therapy that cannot be discontinued (warfarin, coumadin etc)
- Metastatic diseases
- Certain bleeding disorders
CALL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION TO SEE IF YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR THE VAMPIRE GUM REJUVENATION(TM) TECHNIQUE. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HELPING YOU. (731)660-6244
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