An Understanding Of Dental Implant Bone Grafting

Posted on: 17 February 2015

Perhaps you've decided to use dental implants to replace your missing teeth instead of having dentures, but you're not quite sure what this would involve. Well, the answer is that it all depends on how healthy the bone is that decides where the implants will be inserted.

If your jawbone is not healthy, and has been eroded by infection, previous tooth extraction or gum disease, then you'll require the jawbone to be built up to securely hold your implants. This is known as Dental Implant Bone Grafting and, though it can be a lengthy process, it can usually be performed in your dentist's surgery.

To achieve this, your dentist will use either an artificial or synthetic bone substitute, or 'autogenous' bone taken from your own body. By adding this new bone to your body, it will stimulate your body to create new bone.

The 'How-To' of Dental Implant Bone Grafting

Dental implant bone grafting can be achieved by several methods:

  • Block bone grafting involves removing bone from another area of the patient's body. Autogenous bone intended for a bone grafting procedure for dental implants will generally be harvested from a patients' chin or hip, implanted into the jawbone where the tooth is to be replaced, and left to heal and grow new bone for a minimum of three months – sometimes as long as six months. Bone removal from the patient will be undertaken in hospital by an orthopedic surgeon and then transferred to the dentist.
  • Allograft bone for dental implant bone grafting is removed from cadavers under the intense supervision of bone banks. This is a very common type of bone-harvesting and for many years has supplied bone for thousands of dental and medical procedures, with never an instance of transmitted disease.
  • Animal bone used in dental implant bone grafting is called 'Xenograft', a term used for any trans-species transplanting. Both Xenograft and Allograft dental implant bone are foreign matter to a patient's body and may trigger rejection; however, this is quite infrequent.

The dentist will insert a barrier membrane to cover the newly implanted bone. This will protect the area where the new bone is growing from the body's other more rapidly growing tissues.

When is Bone Grafting NOT Required?

When dental implant bone grafts, bone expansion, or bone growth won't provide enough support for a dental implant, the dentist will create a mold of the jawbone and then insert a plate to hold the implants. Of course if you have sufficient bone tissue and healthy teeth and gums then you won't require a dental implant bone graft. (for more information, contact Bruce Parker DMD)