For those who are missing one or more or even all of the teeth, dental implant is the choice of treatment. Sometime, your oral surgeon will probably talk with you about getting a graft. Bone graft. Sounds terrifying, right? But there’s no reason to be scared – dental professionals do them all the time.
Just prepare yourself to learn what a graft is.
What is bone graft?
A bone graft is when a surgeon puts bone from elsewhere into your jaw. It’s not always necessary.
Bone graft material placed into an empty tooth socket
Why do I need bone graft?
A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) which is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line. In some cases, when your dentists see that your bone is too thin, soft or insufficient to be a foundation for the implants, they will tell you to do a bone graft procedure. Because, if there is not enough bone, the implant could fail over time.
Increasing bone volume by bone grafting procedure
Where does the bone graft material come from?
In general, there are four types of bone graft materials: patient’s own body, artificial, synthetic or natural substitute.
The bone for a graft may come from the patient’s own body harvested from non-essential bones, such as chin area, the back of jaw, the hip or from the leg. This is the best choice of material. However, autograft requires a secondary surgical site on your body for harvesting bone graft.
Allograft is derived from humans. The difference is that allograft is harvested from a individual other than the one receiving the graft. Allograft bone is taken from the ones that donated their bone; it is typically sourced from a bone bank.
This kind of bone if specially treated to eliminate any bacteria or other biological materials so the graft material is purely bone particles and nothing else. This bone is completely sterile. Advantage of allograft is that the bone grafting can be done without a secondary surgical procedure.
Bone can also come from animal sources such as bovines. The bone undergoes treatments to render it safe for use. It is used as a calcified matrix.
Artificial bone can be created from ceramics such as calcium phosphate, bioglas and calcium sulphate. These materials combine with growth factors or mixed with bone marrow to increase biological activity.
Will A bone graft affect the length and cost of the treatment?
Grafting may extend your total treatment time and cost, but that is dependent upon how much grafting is done, where it is placed and the type of dental restoration you are planned for.
After bone grafting procedure, you have to wait, probably several months, while the graft creates enough new, strong bone to make sure that the implant will be stable and secure.
A successful bone graft allows your jawbone to be strong enough to support your dental implant.
- Kumar, P., Vinitha, B., & Fathima, G. (2013). Bone grafts in dentistry. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 5(Suppl 1), S125–S127.
- Misch, Carl E. Contemporary Implant Dentistry. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier, 2008.