What are Dental Bone Grafts?
Patients who have experienced bone loss in the jaw due to missing teeth, gum disease, injuries, or congenital defects can fortify the jaw bone with a bone graft. A bone graft is a procedure that adds both volume and density to the jawbone through the surgical placement of a graft. The graft promotes the growth of new bone in the jaw, strengthening it to support dental implants, implant-supported dentures or bridges, or your natural teeth.
The graft used to promote regeneration of bone tissue may come from your own body (autograph), a tissue bank (allograft or xenograft), or a synthetic material (alloplast).
There are four main types of bone grafts:
- Sinus Lift. A sinus lift is performed on the upper jaw, using a bone graft to lift the sinuses so the upper jaw can support dental implants.
- Ridge Augmentation. This type of bone graft supports a thin jawbone due to missing teeth. Ridge augmentation increases the jawbone's volume and width so that the jaw can support dental implants.
- Socket Preservation. Socket preservation, also called ridge preservation, is performed immediately after tooth extraction. It is performed to prevent the sides of the socket from caving in by filling the void left behind by the missing tooth.
- Periodontal Bone Graft. This type of bone graft supports the natural teeth in patients who have experienced jawbone erosion due to periodontal disease.
Benefits of A Bone Graft
Patients who have experienced bone loss in the jaw benefit from bone grafts in several ways:
- Supports dental implants to replace missing teeth
- Restores jaw after experiencing dental trauma
- Restores jaw after suffering from tooth loss
- Restores jaw after loss from periodontal disease
- Prevents an altered facial appearance (sagging, wrinkles, thin lips)
- Supports good oral health (teeth and gums)
- Prevents loss of teeth
Are You a Good Candidate for a Bone Graft?
Candidates for bone grafts are those who have experienced bone loss in the jaw. Therefore, the best candidates are those who intend to replace missing teeth with dental implants, or implant-supported dental restorations such as dental bridges or implant-supported dentures. Additionally, patients who have experienced traumatic injury to the teeth or jaw, or periodontal disease resulting in bone loss may be good candidates for bone grafts.
To be approved for bone graft surgery, patients will need to be healthy enough to undergo the procedure. As such your medical history and list of medications you take will need to be evaluated by your endodontist or implantologist before approval for bone grafting.