What is a bone graft?
A bone graft is a dental procedure that is used when there is significant bone loss within the jaw. Significant bone loss can affect both your neighboring teeth, future implants, and even your face structure over time. For this reason, a bone graft is recommended to patients with severe bone loss as the bone graft encourages bone growth in the areas where bone is scarce.
How does a bone graft work?
A bone graft involves packing in bone particles (either from yourself, an animal or other source) where it is then held in place by your gum tissues. Over the course of about 3 months (or more depending on each individual’s healing capacity) the bone already exisitng in your jaw uses the bone graft as a scaffold to stimulate growth of your own bone. At this point the bone graft will gradually and naturally be removed from your body as it is being replaced with your own bone growth.
Who needs a bone graft?
Whether it be because of gum disease, an extraction or a traumatic injury that resulted in bone loss in your jaw, patients with significant bone loss would require a bone graft either before or during the placement of the implant.
Why is a bone graft necessary?
A bone graft is necessary to provide a more stable structure for the implant fixture to adhere to. Without a solid foundation, the implant is more likely to fail and will have to be redone. Redoing an implant can require finding another site to place the implant. This can involve extraction of one of the neighboring teeth to make ample space with greater bone density. Another possibility with redoing an implant involves inserting only a bone graft and waiting a longer period of time for just the bone graft to heal.
While both of these options are viable, they are both less than ideal compared to the easier process of a bone graft and implant placement at once.
What are the bone grafts made of?
There are a variety of bone graft types and materials. One is called an autograft which takes bone particles from another part of the patient’s body to be used to encourage bone growth. Another is called allograft which takes sterilized bone particles and minerals from another person, usually a cadaver. An alloplast is a synthetically made bone material that simulates the properties of the minerals and bone particles from in people to encourage bone growth.
In our office we offer allograft bone and alloplast bone for surgical procedures such as implant placements and extractions.
If you still have questions and would like to know more about bone grafts, you can give us a call at 703-815-0699 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!