Platelets: The Heroes in Healing
As a dental practice always looking for holistic approaches to healing, using PRP has been an excellent way to increase the patient’s own healing response and decrease pain post-operatively.
What is PRP anyway?
PRP is Platelet Rich Plasma. So what is that? You may have heard of it being called PRF (Platelet Rich Fibrin), PRGF (Platelet Rich in Growth Factors), or any other combination of acronyms synonymous with alphabet soup. All this terminology can be rather confusing. Let’s make it a little more clear.
The discovery of the processes of wound healing is relatively new. Research exploded in the 1990s when it was found that placing concentrated plasma on a wound increased the healing response, both soft tissue and bone. The results of that research? Platelets are the heroes in healing. Platelets contain granules called alpha granules. These alpha granules contain growth factors responsible for stimulating different cells to divide. For example, there is a growth factor to stimulate epithelial cells to make soft tissue. There is a growth factor to stimulate bone cells to make bone. There is a growth factor to stimulate collagen to grow as well. The underlying cause of all healing is growth factors released from the platelets. Then it makes sense that if more growth factors are added to a wound, the healing ability of that wound is increased. And that is PRP!
When PRP is made, blood is drawn from the patient and placed in a centrifuge to separate the blood components. A typical sample of blood contains 94% red blood cells, 5% platelets, and less than 1% white blood cells. Once the sample is spun in a centrifuge, a portion of the separated blood components is removed. This portion contains 94% platelets, 5% red blood cells, and 1% white blood cells. Therefore, the non-healing cells (red blood cells) are replaced by the healing cells (platelets). This PRP results in a 7 times concentration of platelets to the wound. With that level of concentrated healing cells, the wound heals faster, the quality of the wound is improved, and post-operative pain is minimized.
The icing on the cake for those of us at Origin Dental Wellness is that we are using the patient’s own blood. This means no potential for an allergic reaction or a negative response from their own bodies. It is a major advantage for those patients who may have compromised wound healing due to diabetes or other systemic diseases that cause delayed healing. We utilize PRP in all surgical procedures and our patients are always grateful that we do!