Like the word “cavity,” cavitation refers to a hole. But this hole is not in a tooth – it is in the jaw bone. A dental cavitation is commonly found in an area where a tooth has been removed and the bone has not healed properly, often in wisdom tooth extraction sites. Some other causes of cavitations are tooth abscess, dry socket, untreated infection, root canal, increased bone pressure, injury to the jaw bone, or use of certain medications.
Dental cavitations are not widely known or understood by the general-public. To make things more confusing, cavitations go by many names, such as:
- Dental Cavitations
- Jaw Cavitations
- Jawbone Cavitations
- Ischemic Bone Disease (IBD)
- Chronic Ischemic Bone Disease (CIBD)
- Site of Alternate Healing
- Jawbone Infection
- Extraction Site Infection
- Neuralgia-Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (NICO)
Ideally, after a tooth is removed, the body heals and refills the area in the jaw where the tooth was. However, when the periodontal membrane (the tissue between the tooth and tooth socket that holds the tooth in place – also referred to as a periodontal ligament) is not removed at the time of extraction, it can cause incomplete healing in the site and lack of blood flow, resulting in a hole in the jawbone. The continued presence of the periodontal ligament indicates to the surrounding jawbone that no new bone growth is needed, preventing the body from naturally healing itself.
Though the periodontal membrane left behind can sometimes show up in a dental x-ray as a shadow of a tooth, cavitations are not always detectable on a standard x-ray. Additionally, dental cavitations can remain asymptomatic, making diagnosis increasingly difficult. Cavitations are best diagnosed by Cone Beam 3D CT Scan. The 3-D image provided by the CBCT scan provides highly valuable diagnostic information, and is a very dependable tool in diagnosing abnormalities in the jawbone. 2D panoramic imaging and regular bitewing or periapical xrays cannot display dental cavitation abnormalities. At Natural Dentist Associates, we provide same-day CBCT scan for proper diagnosis of jaw cavitation.
Some possible symptoms of dental cavitation are:
- Phantom Toothache
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Facial Pain
- Atypical Facial Neuralgia
- Deep Bone Pain or Pressure
- Sour or Bitter Taste
- Bad Breath
- Sinus Problems/Congestion
- Complications Following Tooth Extraction
- Dry Socket
A hole in the jawbone may not seem like a serious problem, especially if it is not causing you pain. Healthy gum tissue may even grow over the extraction site, but the lack of blood flow will begin to kill off the tissue under the surface. As the tissue continues to rot, pathogens begin to accumulate. Dental cavitations are breeding grounds for bacteria and toxins, activating a constant immune response, causing chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The bacterial waste in a dental cavitation is extremely potent and may result in digestion problems, chronic fatigue, and other chronic health problems. Cavitation is far-reaching, and can result in systemic inflammation, impacting overall health.
Dr. Boyd Haley PhD
More recent research by Dr. Boyd Haley shows that ALL cavitation tissue samples tested contain toxins, significantly inhibiting one or more of five basic body enzymes necessary in the energy production cycle. These small chemical toxins and metabolic waste products may produce significant systemic effects, as well as play an important role in the localized disease process, which negatively affects the blood supply in the jawbone. There are indications that when these toxins combine with chemicals or heavy metals such as mercury, more potent toxins may be formed.
The good news is cavitations are often avoidable. Prevention starts at home with daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental visits for preventative care. Most importantly, if you are being recommended for oral surgery, do your research to find a dentist who is familiar with cavitation and will take the proper steps to avoid any future complications.
A dentist who is aware of the risks will take special care to:
- Remove the periodontal ligament following the tooth extraction
- Use CBCT imaging technology to properly assess and diagnose
- Incorporate the use of ozone therapy to properly clean the extraction site and underlying bone
- Place platelet rich fibrin (PRF) in the extraction site to stimulate blood flow and promote proper healing
If you suspect that cavitation may be affecting your overall health, we are here to help. There are many treatment options for jawbone cavitations, as well as detoxification to rid your body from the associated toxins. Schedule a consultation with one of our qualified holistic dentists to see if you are suffering from cavitation or if other oral factors could be contributing to your health problems.