Replacing Bone for Dental Implants
If you have had severe gum disease known as periodontitis, you may have lost some of the bone that holds your teeth in place. Your dentist or a gum disease specialist, a periodontist, may suggest a bone graft. Bone grafts can help grow new bone to replace the bone destroyed by periodontitis.
A dental bone graft is a procedure performed to increase the amount of bone in a part of the jaw where bone has been lost or where additional support is needed. Bone may be taken from elsewhere in the body and surgically fused to existing bone in the jaw. Sometimes, synthetic bone material is used.
A dental bone graft is sometimes needed if further procedures, such as dental implants, are necessary due to bone atrophy. The dental implants need the bone integrity or density for support.
What exactly is a dental bone graft?
There are several ways dental bone grafting can be accomplished, but the basic procedure is the same. Starting by administering a local anesthetic, a dentist or oral surgeon will make a small incision in the soft tissue next to the spot in question in the jaw. The bone graft is inserted, and the gum is sutured closed.
The preferred approach for dental bone grafting is to use your own bone from the hip, tibia, or back of the jaw. This is known as an autograft. Autografts are usually the “gold standard,” since they increase bony support in the jaw and promote faster healing and new bone formation.
Types of bone grafts differ depending on the material used:
- Autograft: a bone graft using your own bone, usually sourced from the hip bone or back of the jaw.
- Allograft: a bone graft using bone sourced from a human donor.
- Xenograft: a bone graft using bone from a cadaver source or animal source.
- Alloplast: a bone graft using synthetic material containing calcium, phosphorous and hydroxylapatite.
All bone grafting material are bleached of any DNA, so the grafting materials are completely safe. If the graft comes from another source, it may take slightly longer to heal, but you also did not experience the second surgical extraction site.
Dental Implants for Missing Teeth
People who are going to receive dental implants in place of missing teeth are common candidates for dental bone grafts. It is important for the success of the dental implant that the jawbone has the integrity to support the implant. An x-ray will identify the integrity of the jawbone mass.
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into your jawbone. Over a given period of healing time the implant will fuse or grow to the bone. This allows the implant to offer the stabilizing support much like a natural root. An extension or abutment is added to the post to reach the gumline surface and then an artificial crown is placed on the abutment.
This artificial root helps preserve the integrity of the jawbone moving forward. It also helps deliver biting and chewing pressures and well as hot and cold temperature variations.