In the recent past the term “cavitation” is used to define a condition where jawbones have holes that are either empty or full of dead bone. In 1930, an orthopedic researcher defined it as a condition where a shortage in blood flow into an area created a hole in the bone.
Dr. G.V. Black, (the “Father of Cavitation Surgery”), described cavitation as a continuous “death of bone” whereby bone cells are destroyed, softening the bone or hollowing out parts of it. Interestingly, this cavitation process did not display any of the common symptoms associated with dental infections such as redness in the gingiva, fever, inflammation, or pus. In his research, Dr. Black discovered that the condition could be treated by removing all the softened bone until good one forms.
How the Term “Cavitation” is Used Today
Today, the term cavitation is used to refer to the various types of jawbone lesions that are dead, lacking oxygen, infected, toxic, as well as those that seem like empty holes. These cavitations are located in old extraction sites, near or under the roots of wisdom teeth, canal teeth, and dead teeth, and often become a focal point for toxins which can contribute to various medical conditions.
In a recent study by Dr. Boyd Haley, cavitation tissue samples were found to contain toxins (mainly metabolic waste products) which hinder body enzymes that help in energy production. The toxins contribute to the localized disease process that affects the blood supply in the jawbone.
Bob Jones, the inventor of Cavitat, scanned thousands of wisdom teeth sites and found cavitations of different sizes and severity in about 94% of them. He also scanned root canal teeth and found cavitations under or near all of them. Another research found that 45% of all jawbone cavitations are located in the wisdom teeth sites. The wisdom teeth contain small terminal vessels, which are associated with osteonecrosis; the reason why they are particularly predisposed. In addition, injections for dental procedures are usually administered near these areas.
Neuralgia-inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (NICO) Lesions
NICO is a condition whereby supposed cavitation leads to chronic facial neuralgia. A person suffers pains mainly in the face or head due to the cavitations. However, research shows that the percentage of people with cavitations who experience that pain is quite small.
Factors Associated with Cavitational Lesions
Various factors can cause cavitations, and a combination of these factors determines the occurrence, size, type, growth patterns, and progression of the cavitation.
The main initiating factors are related to bacterial, physical and toxic traumas. Initiating factors related to bacteria trauma include cyst, infected wisdom teeth, root canal toxins, periodontal disease, and abscesses.
Initiating factors related to physical trauma include tooth extractions, root canal procedures, dental injections, periodontal surgery, overheat from high-speed drilling, grinding and clenching, electrical trauma, and incomplete removal off periodontal restorations.
Initiating factors related to toxic trauma include root canal toxins, dental materials, chemical toxins, and anesthetics with vasoconstrictors.
Risk factors include:
- Blood clotting disorders
- Atmospheric pressure changes
- Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
- Gaucher’s disease
- Physical inactivity
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sickle-cell anemia
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
To treat cavitation lesions, the dead bone must be removed. Therefore, the patient must undergo surgery as there is no other way to remove the necrotic tissue. Failure to remove the tissue causes the necrosis to extend to other areas, damaging the jawbone and blood cells. But when the tissue is removed, new bone cells can regenerate to fill the cavitations.
How to Prevent Cavitations
It’s possible to prevent cavitations, and this mainly involves eliminating the initiating and predisposing factors. Though new ways of preventing and treating cavitations are coming up, there remains a lot of unanswered questions hence more research regarding the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the condition is required.
For your free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods about cavitation treatment, call 619-359-6569