About Bone Grafting

What is Bone Grafting?

Over a period of time, the jaw bone associated with missing teeth atrophies and resorbs (melts away). This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for the placement of dental implants without a bone graft.

With bone grafting, we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing, but we also have the ability to promote new bone growth in that location. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.

Types of Bone Grafts

Autogenous Bone Grafts

Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are from your own bone, taken from somewhere else in the body. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, or hip. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is your own live bone, meaning it contains living cells that enhances bone growth, also eliminating the risk of your body rejecting the graft material since it comes from you.

However, one downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body.

Allogenic Bone

Allogenic bone, or allograft, is bone harvested from a cadaver, and then processed to remove all cells. 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.

Xenogenic Bone

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. Like allogenic grafts, xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.

Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting have an advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest your own bone, as with autografts. However, because these options lack the autograft’s bone-forming cells, bone regeneration may a have a less predictable outcome.

Bone Graft Substitutes

As a substitute to using real bone many synthetic materials are available as safe and proven alternatives, including:

Cerasorb®

This product is beta-tricalcium phosphate that helps natural bone growth and over a period of time becomes resorbed.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (Infuse)

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally occurring in bone that promote and regulate bone formation and healing.  This product is recombinant human BMP — synthetically produced BMP.  This produces new bone the same way the body does.

Synthetic materials also have the advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest bone, reducing risk and pain. Each bone grafting option has its own risks and benefits. Dr. Parmer and Dr. Macholl will determine which type of bone graft material best suited to your particular needs.