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Inside Dentistry
November 2023
Volume 19, Issue 11

The Promising Role of Cannabinoids in Dentistry

Clinical trials are documenting the benefits of treatments that include these compounds

After 40 years in dental practice, I recently took a moment to pause and appreciate the amazing technical advancements that have occurred in dentistry. However, it occurred to me that dentistry may be so heavily focused on dental technology and what it can do to improve accuracy and predictability that we are overlooking the fact that we are doctors of dental medicine first and should be equally focused on advancing our understanding and treatment of our patients' oral and systemic health. Many dentists still primarily rely on antiquated probes and picks for diagnosis and pursue a "kill all the bad bugs" philosophy with antibiotics and mouthwashes. Alternatively, we need new, innovative products that significantly improve our capabilities to not only manage problematic pathoses when they arise but also promote and maintain oral and systemic health.

I had a conversation regarding this with a patient, David Cooper, MD, PhD, a physician, chemist, and scientist whose 92-year-old mother has been my patient for 30 years. During the exchange, I learned that cannabinoids have been used in both medicine and in dentistry throughout history. Their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, wound-healing, and other capabilities have been well documented and are detailed in the current research. This conversation changed my perspective on the potential of natural, plant-based therapies and led me to become involved in case studies and clinical trials with Cooper and PhytoDental Solutions.

Honestly, I never thought I would become involved in developing hemp-based dental products. Phytocannabinoids mimic the endocannabinoids produced by the human body, which play a vital role in maintaining oral and systemic homeostasis. In the pursuit of studying these beneficial molecules, we are, unfortunately, negatively distracted by advertisements and medical articles detailing the random medicinal qualities of formulations that include the psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therapies with products that contain THC are not necessary or even a desirable option for the patient or the doctor. I have learned that beneficial dental formulations from the hemp plant can be processed, completely depleted of THC, and reliably manufactured in US Food and Drug Administration-approved facilities to have authenticated contents that maintain their therapeutic benefits.

Dentists face oral conditions on a daily basis for which cannabinoids may enhance the treatment of acute and chronic cases, and cannabinoids can also function proactively to prevent disease via a dental wellness maintenance regimen. For example, cannabinoids can offer an alternative treatment option for the inflammatory response seen in gingivitis. Interestingly, drug resistance to the antimicrobial properties of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids has not been identified. This has become increasingly important because the World Health Organization has recognized resistance to antimicrobial and antifungal agents as a worldwide threat.

Regarding the delivery of formulations containing cannabinoids or, more accurately, of phytocannabinoids without THC, I have first-hand clinical experience with several different methods, including gels and rinses that leverage advanced nano- and micellar chemistry preparations. Patients with gingivitis who receive such treatment show disease improvement in days, not weeks, with less bleeding. They no longer experience the pain associated with these lesions, which I have documented qualitatively as well as by probing. I have also seen the resolution of cases of peri-implantitis in which the depth of the sulci was reduced from 7 mm to 2 mm.

These formulations are now being validated by PhytoDental Solutions and its partners through well-defined, institutional review board-authorized clinical trials, and data are being developed to lay the groundwork for their inclusion into dental practice. Because cannabinoid therapies combine an evidence-based, anti-inflammatory, and pro-oral and systemic health approach with financial attractiveness to both the dentist and the patient, I am convinced that there is a significant and growing role to be played by cannabinoid chemistry in dentistry, and I am excited to play a part and relay my enthusiasm to my fellow dentists.

About the Author

Carl W. Magyar, DDS, is the chief dental officer of PhytoDental Solutions, Inc, and maintains a general dentistry practice in Lecanto, Florida.

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