Low Intensity Vibrations Applied Locally can be Transmitted to the Alveolar Bone Thereby Enhancing the Quality of the Bone in Adult Rats
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Oral bone loss is a major concern amongst a large population suffering from estrogen deficiency, osteoporosis and periodontal diseases. The clinical implication of oral bone loss is premature tooth loss. Mechanical loading has proven to be vital in maintaining the quantity and quality of the bone, particularly in impacted bone. Studies have shown that long bones (post-cranial) and alveolar bone (cranial) are both sensitive to mechanical environment through static and dynamic loading. It also has been suggested that whole body vibrations (WBV) at low-magnitude and high frequency are a non-invasive and non-pharmacological method to prevent bone loss, particularly in the long bones. However, not much has been said about the application of these low-magnitude high frequency loads on the alveolar bone. In this pilot study, it is determined if low magnitude of 0.3 g (where g = 9.8ms<super>-2</super>) and high frequency of 50 Hz, localized vibrations can be transmitted to the alveolar bone and also enhance the quantity and quality of the alveolar bone. Twelve-week old, healthy male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to localized low intensity vibrations (LIV) for 3 min/day, 5 days/week over 6 weeks. Some studies on long bones suggest 6 weeks of low intensity whole body vibrations (WBV) (0.3 g, 30 - 90 Hz) are sufficient to induce anabolic changes, especially in the trabecular bone. In this pilot study, an actuator was designed to transmit these LIV locally to the mandible (lower jaw) of the rat. However, the magnitude and frequency of the actuator could not be controlled individually as it was connected to a power source. Validation of this actuator confirmed the repeatability and the strength of these LIV over a period of 1-week. At the end of the 6-week experiment, the LIV failed to enhance the quantity of the alveolar bone, however, it was able to increase the mineralization of the bone in the vibrated group by approximately 5%. It was found that the increase in mineralization was not caused by the changes in the chemical composition of the alveolar bone but perhaps attributed to the activation of osteocytes, which caused an increase in the mineralization. Due to the nature of this pilot study, healthy male rats were administered with an extremely short bout of LIV. Studies have shown that bone responsiveness to LIV is dependent parameters such as duration, bout, magnitude and/or frequency. Using the information obtained from this pilot study, we believe, that applying these LIV on an osteoporotic animal model, using different combinations of mechanical loading can provide critical information on the potential treatment modality to prevent oral bone loss caused by diseases such as osteoporosis and periodontitis. Ultimately, from a broader perspective, our application of LIV on the teeth seeks to explore the potential benefits of brushing teeth with an electric toothbrush, to not only clean teeth, but also to maintain healthy teeth caused by LIV, in order to improve the quantity and quality of the alveolar bone.