Periodontal disease is the leading cause of bone loss in the oral cavity, though there are others such as ill-fitting dentures and facial trauma. The bone grafting procedure is an excellent way to replace lost bone tissue and encourage natural bone growth. Bone grafting is a versatile and predictable procedure which fulfills a wide variety of functions.
A bone graft may be required to create a stable base for dental implant placement, to repair bone around natural teeth resulting from gum disease or to make the smile appear more aesthetically pleasing.
There are several types of dental bone grafts. The following are the most common:
Autogenous bone graft – In this type of graft the bone is removed from elsewhere in the body and implanted in the mouth. Common donor sites for bone grafting include the chin and the posterior third molar areas of the jaw. If large amounts of bone need to be harvested, the hip or the shin bone (tibia) is generally used.
Allograft –Allograft is the most common type of bone graft used in periodontal procedures. This is the implantation of human bone from a tissue bank. The bone is sterile and delivered in granular form. Allograft is safe and effective.
Xenograft – This is the implantation of bovine (cow) bone. A xenograft is perfectly safe and has been used successfully for many years. Ample bone can be obtained and no secondary donor site is necessary.
Reasons for bone grafting
There are a wide variety of reasons why bone grafting may be the best option for restoring the jaw bone.
Dental Implants – Implants are the preferred replacement method for missing teeth because they restore full functionality to the mouth; however, implants need to be firmly anchored to the jawbone to be effective. If the jawbone lacks the necessary quality or quantity of bone, bone grafting can strengthen and thicken the implant site.
Sinus Lift – A sinus lift entails elevating the sinus membrane and grafting bone onto the sinus floor so that implants can be securely placed.
Preserve Natural Teeth- Periodontal disease damages the jawbone that supports the teeth which can lead to tooth loss. Bone grafting can repair some of the lost bone to strengthen the teeth so that they may be retained.
What does bone grafting treatment involve?
Bone grafting is a common procedure which is typically performed under local anesthetic in an office setting. Initially, the grafting material needs to be prepared for insertion. A small incision is made in the gum tissue which is then gently separated from the bone. The bone grafting material is then placed at the affected site.
The bone regeneration process may be aided by:
Gum/bone tissue regeneration – A thin barrier membrane, typically collagen, is placed below the gum line over the grafting material. This barrier creates enough space for healthy tissue to grow and separates the faster growing gum tissue from the slower growing bone fibers. This means that bone cells can migrate to the protected area and grow naturally.
Synthetic growth hormone– A laboratory created human platelet derived growth hormone may be added to the bone graft material to stimulate bone growth at the affected site.
The gum is sutured in place and a follow up appointment will need to be made within 10 days to assess progress. Bone grafting is a highly successful treatment and a good base for further periodontal restorations.
If you have any questions about bone grafting, please ask Dr. McNamara