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What You Should Know About Cavitations In Dentistry

December 20, 2022

Following the release of the Docudrama “Root Cause”, there has become a heightened awareness of jaw bone cavitations. Some of the information dispensed is misleading but the reality of this condition experienced a needed awakening among the public.

Cavitations occurring in the jaw go by many names and acronyms. Jawbone osteonecrosis, avascular necrosis, aseptic necrosis, or ischemic bone necrosis are all accurate to a degree and attempt to identify this degenerative bone condition characterized by the death of cellular components of bone due to an interruption of the blood supply. This condition can lead to the formation of cavitations, which are intramedullary (within the bone) lesions or defects in the jaws. Usually occurring in the site of wisdom tooth removal or sites where infected teeth were removed, these cavitations are only observed using cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) radiographs and are often not apparent by traditional 2D radiographs even if they are digital.

Dr. Reese is chairing a committee of The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) to provide  a position paper on human jawbone osteonecrosis.  A summary of that yet finished paper is as follows:

  1. Jawbone osteonecrosis is characterized by a range of symptoms, including unexplained health burdens and non-specific systemic symptoms
  2. Symptoms of dental cavitations can vary depending on the location and severity of the condition. 
  3. Some common symptoms may include:
  • Pain or tenderness in the affected area
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • A foul odor emanating from the mouth
  • Occasionally, but infrequently there could be draining or pus from the area.

There is evidence and discovery that many systemic maladies and unexplained illnesses are related to cavitations even without the associated jaw pain or discomfort. Serving as a source of low grade infection, bacteria enters the bloodstream and infects other parts of the body. This chronic ‘tax’ to the immune system and compromise to organ function can keep the body drained of needed energy to fight subsequent infections.  

A recent discovery that many inflammatory conditions such as Chronic Fatigue, Autoimmune disorders, arthritis, asthma and others have been relieved or lessened by treatment and elimination of these jaw bone lesions. This is due to the reduction of inflammatory biomarkers that are harbored in the cavitation sites of the jaw, but disseminate to other organs keeping the body in a chronically inflamed state.

In some cases, dental cavitations may not produce any noticeable symptoms, and may only be discovered during a 3D (CBCT)  imaging study. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have concerns about dental cavitations, it is worthwhile to schedule a CBCT and consultation by an experienced and knowledgeable provider.

The treatment for dental cavitations varies depending on the severity of the condition and the symptoms that are present. In most cases, surgical debridement of the affected area is necessary to remove dead or infected tissue, reduce the cytokine(biomarker presence)  and promote healing. This can be complemented by adjunctive treatments such as antibiotics or ozone, platelet rich therapy, and IV therapy with high doses of Vit. C..