One new and fascinating technology that makes dental surgery easier both for the patient and the dentist is L-PRF, which stands for leukocyte-platelet rich fibrin. L-PRF is applied to surgical wounds to help them heal and to promote the growth of bone, or osteogenesis in an area like the jaw. A good amount of strong bone tissue is important in dental procedures like implants. With an implant, a post is placed in the jaw and must fuse with the bone over time to provide a strong anchor for the crown. Before L-PRF, an oral surgeon would have to strengthen the jaw by taking bone grafts from other parts of the patient’s body.
L-PRF works because of the substances it is made of. They are:
These are white blood cells. They are part of the immune system that protects the body from pathogens like bacteria. White blood cells are the only blood cells that have nuclei. There are several types of white blood cells, and most of the leukocytes found circulating in the blood are a type known as neutrophils. They eat bacteria and form the pus that sometimes appears in a wound.
These are are tiny components of the blood. They are plate-shaped when they’re inactive, which gives them their name. When they arrive at a wound they grow tentacles that make contact with the breached blood vessel wall and other platelets. These tentacles help to plug up the hole in the blood vessel.
Like other blood cells, platelets are made in the bone marrow. They’re made from very large cells called megakaryoctyes. These giant cells shatter into as many as 1,000 pieces, which are the platelets. Platelets are actually fragments of megakaryoctyes. They are also rich in growth factors, such as interleukin 8, insulin-like growth factors, epidermal growth factor, growth factors for connective tissues and platelet derived growth factor, or PDGF. These growth factors prolong the lives of healing cells, help collagen form connective tissue and bone and increase the circulation of blood to the area.
Fibrin works with the platelets to form blood clots. It’s a protein made from fibrinogen that forms long chains when it reaches a wound. The chains trap red blood cells and platelets and eventually form a clot. Fibrin is made only when the body needs it, which is when someone suffers an injury. When an injury occurs, the body makes thrombin, an enzyme that in turn tells the liver to make fibrinogen, which then makes fibrin. Fibrin can also be synthetic.
How is L-PRF Made?
L-PRF is created when the dentist takes two to four vials of blood from the patient. Fibrin is present because the body registers the drawing of blood as an injury, which it infact is! Then, the blood vials are placed in a special centrifuge that spins them rapidly at a certain angle until a blood clot or matrix is formed. The blood clot is treated to remove the excess serum, or liquid portion of the blood. The clot, which can be sutured, is then placed in bone grafting material mixed with serum and applied to the surgical site.
Once at the surgical site, the growth factors in the L-PRF matrix work for up to 14 days to heal the the area and stimulate the growth of bone and other tissue. Because the L-PRF came from the patient, the risk of rejection is practically non-existent, and the risk of the patient suffering an allergic reaction or side effects are greatly reduced. L-PRF has proven to be effective not just for dental implants but for:
- Healing sockets left after tooth extraction
- Healing operations on the sinuses
- Healing operations on dental ridges and the palate
- Reversing atrophy of the patient’s jaw bone
Call Boynton Laser Dental Center for More Information About L-PRF
If you are interested in dental implants or other types of oral surgery and want to know more about L-PRF, call our board-certified dentists at Boynton Laser Dental Center. Our number here is (561) 737-6400.