At SteinerBio, our posts are accompanied by cited literature to support our discussions. When we are discussing a subject that lacks solid published literature, we make an effort to be clear that we are only providing our opinion. This discussion on cavitations falls somewhere in no man’s land as there is published literature, but little of scientific validity. In dentistry, a “bone cavitation” is a term often used to refer to areas of jawbone that is believed to be lacking mineralization or is very poorly mineralized, and filled with either chronically infected, necrotic (dead tissue), or otherwise pathologically affected tissue. Some practitioners suggest that such cavitations can have systemic health implications and may be linked to various chronic health conditions.
In order to get a generalized opinion of what our profession thinks of cavitations, we consulted A.I. to provide a definition of these two terms as follows:
A.I. definition of a “bone cavitation”:
A bone cavitation in the jaw, often referred to as a “cavitation lesion” or “cavitation,” is a term used in dentistry to describe a specific type of pathological condition that can occur in the jawbone. It is also sometimes called a “jawbone cavitation” or “ischemic osteonecrosis”. Cavitations are not widely recognized or accepted in mainstream dentistry, and their existence and significance are a topic of debate within the dental community.
A.I. definition of NICO:
Neuralgia-Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (NICO) is a controversial and debated term used in some alternative and complementary medicine practices, particularly in the field of dentistry. It refers to a theory that suggests that certain dental cavitations (also called cavitations or dental ischemic osteonecrosis) can cause neuralgia or pain in various parts of the body, including the face and head.
It is obvious that A.I. is as confused as we are regarding these concepts.
Let’s begin the discussion that a cavitation is an area of very poor mineralization in the jaw with no obvious associated etiology. Let’s accept that the area must be filled with abnormal or pathologic tissue to be considered a cavitation, which distinguishes the area from only reduced mineralization.
With these generalizations about how a cavitation can be defined, let’s go to the clinic and evaluate areas in the maxillofacial region that present with these features.
When mandibular cancellous bone is poorly mineralized and provides reduced strength, the cortical and crestal bone reacts by thickening to compensate for the poorly mineralized cancellous bone. In the following case, the mandibular crest is abnormally thickened indicating poor cancellous bone support.