Holistic Dentistry Blog
We have seen a rise in the number of patients attending the practice with cavitation issues. Although they have been mentioned in dental literature for decades it can be hard for patients, and even some dentists, to understand what they are.
What is a dental cavitation?
A cavitation is a hole in the jaw bone usually caused by a tooth extraction or trauma to the jaw. When a tooth is extracted, the body tends to fill the space in the bone where the tooth was. However, some of the surrounding periodontal membrane, the fleshy tissue that holds the tooth in the socket, can get left behind. This membrane or root can then become infected.
The area can become a breathing ground for bacteria; the bone doesn’t heal properly and a hole forms. Inside the cavitation, bacteria can flourish and cause an infection. The waste material produced by the bacteria is toxic and can be released into the body.
Symptoms of a cavitation
Often there are no obvious symptoms of a cavitation, so the patient may be unaware there is a problem. Sometimes they can be intensely painful causing severe pain similar, an unremitting toothache or neuralgia.
When this happens the cavitation is called a NICO(Neuralgia Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis) lesion. NICO lesions were first described in dental literature in the 1920s. The discharge of the bacteria’s toxins in these enclosed jaw caverns can in some cases cause extreme fatigue or other health problems.
How can I know if I have a cavitation?
Research shows cavitations can be difficult to diagnose. When the extracted tooth site is X-rayed the leftover membrane can form an image that appears to be a shadow of a tooth. Most dentists are aware of this phantom tooth image, but they do not recognize it as a site of potential problems. A more in-depth CT scan might be needed. We can refer patients for a CT scan after a thorough holistic examination.
Causes of cavitations
- Mercury from dental amalgam fillings in the jaw bone. A high level of mercury can often be found around the ends of the roots of teeth that have amalgam cores, underlying bridges or crowns made of gold or porcelain-fused-to-metal. Its presence in this vulnerable area may kill the bone cells by starving them of oxygen. As it’s a heavy metal, mercury literally settles in the base of each body compartment concentrating in the lower jaw.
- Nutritional deficiencies may also be a factor in poor healing.
- The use of corticosteroid drugs.
- The use of bisphosphonate drugs, which are used to treat osteoporosis and some cancers.
- The use of oestrogen-based drugs such as the contraceptive pill or HRT.
- Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, Paget’s disease or Cushing's syndrome.
- Alcohol abuse
- Radiotherapy treatment
- Poor oral hygiene
Blockage of Meridian Channels
Another problem a cavitation can cause is a blockage of the energy meridians the energy that flows through the body and keeps you balanced.
A weakness in the body’s energy meridian may be the reason why the jaw failed to heal properly after the extraction or why the tooth decayed in the first place.
A cavitation that affects the meridian pathway can cause poor function of other organs served by it. For example, a cavitation that occurs after the extraction of a wisdom tooth may adversely affect the heart, small intestine and hormone production.
Cavitations do not respond to antibiotic therapy. If you think you have a cavitation, get in touch with the clinic for consultation so we can organise appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs.