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Jawbone Cavitations – What are They?

Simply, and as the name implies, jawbone cavitations are cavities or holes within the jawbone. Large numbers of scientific research papers have been written on this subject under a variety of names. In an effort to help you identify it when it is discussed, the following are some of the suggested names:

  • Alveolar Cavitational Osteopathosis
  • Ratner Bone Cavities
  • Pathologic Bone Cavities
  • Odontogenic Trigeminal Neuralgias
  • Osteocavitation Lesions
  • A rather significant aspect of such lesions is that they can’t always be easily seen in radiographs (x-rays). This, of course, complicates matters!

A recently published study of 224 biopsied tissue samples from alveolar bone cavities in 135 patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia or Atypical Facial Neuralgia demonstrated common features of these lesions. They were as follows:

  • “Intra-osseous cavity formation”
  • “Long-standing bone necrosis” (tissue death)
  • “Minimal healing”
  • “Chronic healing”

Based upon these features, the term “Neuralgia Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis” (NICO) is recommended. These authors reported that in 14 studies from 1976-1991 an average of 95% pain reduction in over 1900 cumulative patients. One such study reported significant pain reduction in 91 of 103 neuralgia patients at an average of 4.6 years follow-up. (3)

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