Journal of Biomedical OpticsFuture of bone pathology, bone grafting, and osseointegration in oral and maxillofacial surgery: how applying optical advancements can help both fields
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In recent years, advances in technology are propelling the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery into new realms. With a relatively thin alveolar mucosa overlying the underlying bone, significant diagnostic and therapeutic advantages are present; however, there remains an enormous gap between advancements in physics, in particular optics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery. Improvements in diagnosis, classification, and treatment of the various bone pathologies are still being sought after as advancements in technology continue to progress. Combining the clinical, histological, and pathological characteristics with these advancements, patients with debilitating pathologies may have more promising treatment options and prognosis. Defects in the facial bones, particularly in the jaws, may be due to a number of reasons: pathology, trauma, infections, congenital deformities, or simply due to atrophy. Bone grafting is commonly employed to correct such defects, and allows new bone formation through tissue regeneration. Growing use of dental implants has focused attention on osseointegration and its process. Osseointegration refers to the actual process of the direct contact between bone and implant, without an intervening soft tissue layer. The theories proposed regarding this process are many, yet a clear, unified stance on the actual process and its mechanisms has not emerged. Further investigation using optical probes could provide that unifying answer. The primary goal of this manuscript is to introduce pioneers in the field of optics to the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery. With a brief introduction into the procedures and techniques, we are hopeful to bridge the ever-widening gap between the clinical science and the basic sciences.