A dental bone graft adds volume and density to your jaw in areas where bone loss has occurred. The bone graft material may be taken from your own body (autogenous), or it may be purchased from a human tissue bank (allograft) or an animal tissue bank (xenograft). In some instances, the bone graft material may be synthetic (alloplast).
How does a dental bone graft work?
Once the bone graft has been placed, it holds space for your own body to do the repair work. In other words, a dental bone graft is like a scaffold on which your own bone tissue can grow and regenerate.
In some cases, your dental provider may combine a dental bone graft with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This is taken from a sample of your own blood and is used to promote healing and tissue regeneration.
Who needs a dental bone graft?
A person with bone loss in their jaw usually needs a dental bone graft. This procedure may be recommended if you:
How common are dental bone grafts?
Dental bone grafts are extremely common. They may be performed by a general dentist or a specialist, such as a periodontist or an oral surgeon.
Are there different types of bone grafts?
Yes. There are four main types, including:
Socket preservation. Sometimes called ridge preservation, this type of graft is placed in the socket immediately after a tooth extraction. It fills the void left behind by the missing tooth and prevents the sides of the socket from caving in.
Ridge augmentation. If your teeth have been missing for a while, the supporting jawbone may be thinner than it was before. Ridge augmentation increases the width and volume of the jawbone so it can provide a stable foundation for implants or other restorative options.
Sinus lift. The maxillary sinuses sit just above your upper back teeth. If the upper back teeth are missing, the sinuses can drop down and invade the space once occupied by the teeth roots. In this scenario, you wouldn’t want to place implants because they would penetrate the sinus membrane. To address this problem, your oral surgeon or periodontist can perform a sinus lift. This procedure raises the sinus back to its proper position. A dental bone graft is then placed underneath the sinus, creating a solid foundation for dental implants later on.
Periodontal bone graft. Infection from gum disease can erode the bone that supports the teeth. This can cause the teeth to become loose. A periodontal bone graft is placed around an existing tooth to reduce mobility and provide additional support.
In most cases, bone grafts for dental implants must heal completely before the actual implant is placed. Because each person is unique, recovery times vary. In rare instances, your dentist may be able to place a bone graft and a dental implant at the same time. But this is decided on a case-by-case basis.