Blogpost 026 – Holes In Your Head
Dear friends of Centers for Healing,
After so much discussion of nutrition in general – and apiary products in particular – it’s time to turn our attention back to some specific dental issues faced by today’s patients.
Cavities and Cavitations: What’s the Difference?
Unfortunately, cavities are pretty familiar to almost everyone in our sugar-crazed world. Bacteria in a dirty mouth feed off of leftover food and, in so doing, begin eroding a tooth’s outer protective layer, or enamel. In bad cases, this continues into the more sensitive dentin under the enamel.
The treatment involves removing the damaged part of the tooth, leaving a sort of hole in its place. This area is then filled with some kind of artificial “tooth material”: hence the expression “filling.”
So, exactly what is a cavitation? Well, if a cavity is a hole in a tooth, then a cavitation (scientifically known as ischemic osteonecrosis) is a hole where there was a tooth. Worse, a cavitation is an infected hole where there was tooth. “Infected with what?” you ask. Answer: a potential host of neurotoxins, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. And, because a cavitation is a self-enclosed hole with no oxygen transfer, those bacteria are anaerobic ones, the nastiest and most dangerous of all. I hope I have your full attention by now.
How Do Cavitations Form?
Cavitations can have a variety of causes. Actually, any hard blow to your bones – whether in your mouth or elsewhere – can result in the formation of a cavitation in that area. In such general cases, there clearly was no tooth originally present. The bone is damaged, internal bleeding forms an abscess, and a cavitation forms where bone has disappeared.
However, in the particular case of dental cavitations, they can result not only from abscesses but also – and quite frequently – from improper wisdom tooth extraction. Now, it is estimated that between sixty-five and eighty percent of all Americans will have one or more of their wisdom teeth removed during their lifetimes. It is further estimated that at least eighty percent of all wisdom tooth extraction sites form cavitations subsequent to the extraction.
At a very conservative 65%, that’s 209,795,175 persons with at least one wisdom tooth removal.
According to the U.S. Census Board, as of January 1, 2016 the population of the United States was counted at 322,761,807 persons. At a very conservative 65%, that’s 209,795,175 persons with at least one wisdom tooth removal. Figuring just one removal per person, 80% of that number comes to over 167,000,000 cavitations at any given period. However the actual numbers work out, that’s an awful lot of infected holes in a whole lot of heads!
A fairly common cause of cavitation formation appears to be the fact that, although the tooth itself was removed, the ligament holding the tooth in place was not. This can send a false signal to the body, essentially telling it that there is no need to fill in this space with new jawbone, since there still appears to be a tooth present. You’ve heard of “phantom pain”? Well, think of a cavitation in this instance as a sort of “phantom tooth.”
So far, I’ve explained both the nature and cause of dental cavitation formation. In next week’s post, I’ll continue the discussion with a look at the health dangers posed by cavitations.
On a practical note, if you are considering wisdom tooth extraction for yourself or for anyone in your care, I urge you to contact first our office in Colorado Springs, at (866) 948-4638. We’ll direct you to our nationwide network of dentists and oral surgeons who are trained in successful (i.e., non-cavitation forming) surgery.
Meanwhile, keep your teeth and gums clean, and try not to take any punches to the face!
Dr. Blanche Grube