Bone grafting for the dental patient.
Most dental bone grafting procedures are done to restore your bone to its original form following tooth loss, gum disease or trauma. It may also be used to maintain its shape after tooth extraction.
Restoring and maintaining facial bone structure is important for several reasons. Many dental procedures, such as implant placement, require that the bone be as close to its original dimension and position as possible for optimal results. Also, the jaw and other facial bones support the skin and muscle that are responsible for our outward cosmetic appearance. Without the support of the underlying bone, our faces can look prematurely aged.
How does bone grafting work?
During the body’s normal maintenance cycle, specialized cells in the blood continually enter your tissue to remove damaged cells and replace them with new, healthy cells. Grafting procedures place a framework of material in the areas of missing bone into which these cells can enter and start the rebuilding process. Over time your cells will remodel the graft material into your own functioning bone.
Where does bone-grafting material come from
Bone grafting material comes from several sources. Autograft bone is material that is taken from another point in the patient’s body and transplanted to the desired site. It is a good graft material since it contains the patient’s own cells, and carries no risk of disease transmission. The chief drawbacks are that it requires a second surgical procedure, and enough harvestable bone may not be easily available.
Allograft bone is material that was taken from an organ donor and processed to ensure its safety and improve the handling characteristics. The advantages of allograft bone are that it is available in unlimited quantities and it does not require a second procedure to harvest it. Allograft bone has been well documented in clinical trials, and has an excellent safety record.
Cross-section of a jaw that has lost volume following tooth loss. There is not enough bone to safely place a dental implant.
The patient’s cells migrate into the graft and remodel it into new bone. Over time host bone will completely replace the allograft material.
Restored jaw now has adequate room for placement of a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.