Oral health difficulties like gingivitis and periodontitis are becomingly increasingly problematic as more and more people are having these difficulties. These diseases cause receding gum lines and tooth sensitivity, which can be incredibly painful for patients. If left untreated, these conditions can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to the oral cavity, by causing the decay of the roots of teeth. These conditions also often cause persistent gum inflammation, which can significantly decrease quality of life for a patient by hindering their ability to chew hard foods or for their teeth to handle certain temperatures of food.

But with new research published in the BioMed Central open access journal Head & Face Medicine these difficulties may soon be a thing of the past for many patients. The researchers in question may have found a way to use bovine collagen to enhance gum healing and subsequently improve the quality of life for patients suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis. In the study conducted, researchers found that using the bovine collagen enhanced the mouth’s ability to fight gingivitis and periodontitis, thickening the margins surrounding the tooth and even covering the exposed roots of teeth in many cases.

The researchers for this study were Dr. Shahram Ghanaati and dentist Dr. Markus Schlee. The two researchers conducted their study on patients throughout Germany and Switzerland, and both found their results positive in the vast majority of cases. The researchers were able to ensure the safety of the treatment through the process used to extract the bovine collagen. The distinct method of extraction used allowed the researchers to ensure that all bacteria, viruses, and harmful pathogens had been deactivated before the product was tested on humans.

The study looked at patients with many recessions of the gums in their mouths, to ensure that they had a quality sample of patients. The researchers used a surgical procedure to place the collagen implants around the tooth and hold them in place with surgical thread. The surgeries were a great success, with absolutely none of the patients needing antibiotics just two weeks after the sutures had been extracted.
The researchers reexamined the patients again after six months and found that the results were still positive. “In all cases the healed-over implant improved the look and severity of the recession, and, in over half of all treatments, resulted in total coverage of the exposed root. We would not have expected any of these patients to get better without surgery,” said Dr. Schlee.

The two doctors believe that the collagen may act as a support structure with the body can then use as a scaffold to regrow the body’s own cells onto to repair damage. The researchers note that the results seem to be on par with the results of a connective tissue graft. It is expected that the bovine collagen treatment may soon become an excellent alternative treatment for patients with severe cases, especially those who may have difficulty finding donor tissue for a graft or for those who may not be able to undergo multiple surgeries.

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