What Is Bone Grafting?
Over time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Fortunately, we can grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Bone Grafting Repairs
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaw. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, long term loss of teeth or congenital defects. This bone is harvested from several different sites, depending on the size of the defect.
Types of Bone Grafts
Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are made from your own bone. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, lower leg, hip or skull. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is live bone, meaning that it contains living cellular elements that enhance bone growth.
Xenogenic bone is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.
As a substitute to using real bone, many synthetic materials are available as a safe and proven alternative, including demineralized bone matrix (DBM)/demineralized freeze-dried allograft (DFDBA). The product is processed allograft bone, containing collagen, proteins and growth factors that are extracted from the allograft bone. It is available in the form of powder, putty, chips or a gel that can be injected through a syringe.
Allogenic bone, or allograft, is bone harvested from a cadaver, then processed using a freeze-dry method to extract the water via a vacuum. Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on its own. Rather, it serves as a framework or scaffold over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.
Graft composites consist of other bone graft materials and growth factors to achieve the benefits of a variety of substances. Some combinations may include collagen/ceramic composite, which closely resembles the composition of natural bone, DBM combined with bone marrow cells, which aid in the growth of new bone, or a collagen/ceramic/autograft composite.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing. Synthetic materials also have the advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest bone.
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Bone grafting is an area of great discussion within our specialty. This is an area of great pride and success for our surgeons based on their advanced maxillofacial training in a major trauma institution. Advances in science have allowed us to achieve greater goals with decreased downtime and cost.