By Anthony Lieu
Bone in the mouth makes a difference! Anyone ever called you a bone head? Well with regard to dental implants a bony head (or rather jaw) is a good thing. Having enough bone is usually what makes it easy or hard to place dental implants. In situations where there is not enough bone, we perform procedures to add bone. It is relatively easy and a great way to preserve the shape and form of the jaw and face.
What is Bone Grafting?
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies and 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.
With bone grafting, we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing, but also 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 esthetic appearance.
Types of Bone Grafts
Bone graft comes in many shapes and different size “grit” to fill in spaces where bone is missing or to go around dental implants.
Autogenous Bone Grafts:
Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, is using your own bone. The bone is typically harvested from the side of the jaw. It is an in office procedure with minimal recovery. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhance bone growth.
Bone Graft Substitutes
For patients who do not want to have their own bone or other bone substitutes we provide the latest technology in materials.
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. One of the commonly used materials in our office is Oss-Stem, which is manufacrtured by HiOssen Dental Implants.
Xenogenic bone is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. We commonly use Oss-Stem natural bone grafting material for this procedure. This is a bovine bone product that has been used successfully in oral and maxillofacial procedures for over 20 years. 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 are advantageous in that they do not require a second procedure to harvest your own bone, as with autografts. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts, with a less predictable outcome.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins:
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing.
Medtronic’s INFUSE® Bone Graft can be used in two dental bone grafting procedures: sinus augmentation and localized alveolar ridge augmentation. INFUSE® Bone Graft offers a safe and effective bone grafting alternative. INFUSE® Bone Graft releases a human bone morphogenetic protein, a protein found naturally in the human body into the location where it is placed, and provides a scaffold on which new bone can grow. After surgery, the INFUSE® Bone Graft is absorbed and replaced by the patient’s own new bone.
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. Lieu will determine which type of bone graft material is right for you.