Neuralgia-Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (NICO)

Neuralgia-Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis
often complicates chronic Lyme disease. 

But what is NICO?

A cavity is a hole in a tooth, but a cavitation is a hole in the maxilla (location of upper teeth) or mandible (location of lower teeth) bones of the face.  Cavitations are the result of a progressive disease process involving small blockages (infarctions) of the small blood vessels in these bones and causing dead bone (osteonecrosis) and then infected bone (osteomyelitis).  The process usually starts after dental trauma, such as wisdom teeth extraction, other teeth removal, or root canal procedures. 

Symptoms of cavitations include local pain, headaches (especially frontal and temporal), swollen neck glands, brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue, teeth cavities, dead teeth, clenching and grinding, trigeminal neuralgia, TMJ disorder, and sour or unusual taste in mouth, etc.  In addition, cavitations can cause many other symptoms throughout the body that can mimic chronic Lyme disease, such as leg pain, leg weakness, and poor wound healing.

Treatment of cavitations involves surgical debridement.  An incision is made into the gum and into the bone.  Dead and infected bone is then scraped away. The site is then closed with sutures. 

NICO is controversial in the dental world, and, unfortunately, most dentists do not know how to diagnose or treat this condition even though this disease was discovered about 100 years ago.  Thus, it is highly likely that your dentist will not know about cavitations.  However, biological dentists from IAOMT will probably understand about cavitations and can refer you to a dentist who specializes in this surgery.

You can find out more about neuralgia-inducing cavitational osteonecrosis from the TMJ & Facial Pain Center with Dr. Wesley Shankland in Westerville, Ohio (just north of Columbus, Ohio). 

For those who want to learn even more in depth, Dr. Shankland explains the diagnosis and treatment of cavitations in this lengthy presentation.



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