Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF): A Biocompatible Support for Faster, Better Healing
As a holistic, biological dental practice, we know that biocompatibility is non-negotiable. This means that every material we use, every treatment and technique at our command, is chosen in support of whole body health.
So we opt for BPA-free and fluoride-free composites instead of “silver” amalgam fillings; ceramic dental implants and crowns instead of metal; clear aligners instead of metal brackets; ozone instead of harsh chemical disinfectants.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Introducing PRF (Platelet Rich Fibrin)
Another biocompatible material we use is, in fact, the most reliably biocompatible of all – and invaluable when it comes to supporting better, faster healing from oral surgery: platelet rich fibrin, or PRF for short. What makes it so biocompatible is that it’s made from a small sample of your own blood.
Once we’ve taken the sample, we spin it in a special centrifuge to separate several important compounds from the blood:
- Platelets, which play a key role in the formation of blood clots.
- Fibrin, a protein also involved in clotting.
- White blood cells, which are part of your body’s immune response.
- Bone morphogenic proteins and other growth factors.
- Stem cells.
“Regular” PRF is spun to create a membrane that can be placed over any surgical or treatment site to encourage healing. One of the ways it does so is by encouraging revascularization, enhancing blood flow to the site. This not only improves delivery of the oxygen and other nutrients your body needs to heal; it also helps clear pathogens and other toxins from the area.
The result is faster healing and less pain after your procedure.
We also make use of injectable PRF (iPRF), which contains all the regenerative goodness of PRF – the platelets, growth factors, and so on – but is thin enough to inject where needed, such as around newly placed dental implants, areas where bone grafts have been placed, or areas of infection.
How We Use PRF at the Holistic Dental Center
PRF is something we now use routinely across the whole array of oral surgeries our dentists regularly perform, including extractions, implant placement, the treatment of cavitations or other focal infections, and sinus lift surgeries.
We also use it in conjunction with the Chao Pinhole Technique that Dr. Gashinsky performs to rejuvenate the gums, correcting gum recession in the gentlest, least invasive way possible.
What Does the Science Say about PRF?
Over the years, scientific research has consistently supported the value of PRF in oral surgeries. For instance, numerous studies have shown that it significantly lowers the risk of dry socket after extractions. (Dry socket is a painful condition that happens when a blood clot fails to form or becomes dislodged, partly exposing nerves and bone.) In one 2013 study, just 1% of patients developed dry socket after receiving PRF compared to 10% of non-PRF patients. PRF has also proven helpful in the treatment of dry socket when it does occur. pain and better wound healing.
Other research has shown PRF to be a helpful support for dental implants. One 2018 review, for instance, looked at studies on a variety of outcomes, including bone preservation after extraction, implant osseointegration (i.e., the implant integrating with the bone into which it’s placed), bone regeneration after sinus floor elevation, and more. Of the 12 studies that met their criteria for inclusion, only 3 failed to show any benefit. The vast majority, however,
showed superior outcomes for PRF for any of the evaluated variables, such as ridge dimension, bone regeneration, osseointegration process, soft tissue healing.
Such evidence suggests that PRF may be particularly helpful in improving the stability of implants early on in the osseointegration process. While already having good success rates on their own, dental implants may do even better because of PRF’s virtues.
What Do Patients Say about PRF?
Adding to what the research has shown is what we hear from our patients when we check in with them on their healing after oral surgery. Consistently, they tell us that they experienced minimal pain and discomfort, that their post-op recovery was much easier than they had anticipated.
And when we see them in the office to evaluate their healing, we see beautiful clinical results.