Cavitation is a medical term for a hole in bone caused by the death of a supplying blood vessel. The hole can weaken neighboring teeth and can potentially cause further damage to surrounding jawbone.

Treatment is necessary once the cavitation is found to prevent the problems from spreading. If the cavitation was caused by gingival disease, your dentist will start by clearing up the infection. Sometimes you can have a cavitation, or more than one, for no apparent reason. In that case, the dentist will simply move on to the cavitation treatment.

What are the potential treatment steps for jawbone cavitation?

Tooth Extraction and Curettage

If there is an existing tooth above the cavitation, your dentist will perform an examination to determine the health of the tooth. Because the essential tooth roots pass through the jawbone, a cavitation can also end up killing the tooth. A dead tooth will be extracted before the bone itself can receive treatment.

Curettage is a procedure where the dentist carves into the bone around the cavitation and scrapes out the dead tissue. This is often necessary to keep any further repairs from failing to take because the bone in the area is dead and can't fuse to surrounding tissue or dental implants.

Bone Graft

Your dentist might recommend a bone graft if the cavitation was large enough that the surrounding tissue might not meet in the middle during healing.

For a bone graft, the dentist removes bone from the roof of your mouth. The bone is spliced into the cavitation hole and the gums are stitched closed over the bone. You then heal until the existing bone and graft bone have fused together to form a strong section of jawbone.

Dental Implant

Various types of dental replacement options exist but dental implants offer one of the most stable feeling tooth alternatives. That's because the root of the implant is screwed directly into the jawbone then left to heal with the bone. A post and artificial tooth are later attached.

There are a couple of catches. First, the dentist will need to make absolutely sure that the jawbone is sturdy enough to support and fuse to the root or the implant can fail. And if your cavitation happened simply because you're prone to cavitations, the root of the implant risks causing a new cavitation of its own if it doesn't fuse with the bone properly. Talk with a dentist, such as Denise McGrade DDS, if you have questions.