Bone Grafting for Dental Implants: What Are Your Options?

a woman at the dentist

A common solution for filling a space caused by a missing tooth is a dental implant. Getting an oral implant is beneficial for many, as it helps prevent bone loss, prevents facial sagging, and restores self-confidence.

If you need to undergo dental implant surgery, one of the things your dentist will check is the amount of bone you have in your jaw. If you don’t have enough bone, you’ll need to go through a bone graft, a process of “adding” bone into the jaw area to provide bone reformation and create scaffolding.

Depending on various factors, such as the amount of bone loss in your jaw and your personal preferences, your dentist may recommend one of these types of bone grafts to help with the oral implant process.

Bone Graft Using Your Own Bone

Autograft or autogenous bone graft takes a bone from your body. This option can be an excellent bone source, as it makes use of living tissue and intact cells from the same body. These cells can transform into bone-forming cells, which aids in the healing and restoration of the problem area. Another benefit of an autograft is that the risk of graft rejection is low, as the bone is native to your body.

Bone Graft Using a Donated Bone

An allograft, a type of bone graft that uses a bone coming from another person, is another option you could take if you don’t have enough bone. A dental practice can process a donor bone in several ways, such as applying hydrochloric acid, freeze-drying, and irradiation.

Just like autografts, allografts stimulate the cells in your body to allow wound healing and bone formation. The latter, however, doesn’t require much surgery and makes the recovery time quicker.

Bone Graft Using an Animal Bone

If you want to get a bone from a non-human source, you could go with a xenograft. This option gets a bone from an animal, usually from cows. A great advantage of xenografts is the ease of getting large bone samples from the desired organism, which improves compatibility at the intended site of surgery. On top of that, this type of bone graft works well to rebuild your bone, as it serves as both a biological and mechanical placeholder in the jaw. The xenograft initially provides physical support at the surgical site. Over time, however, the body replaces the animal bone with a new bone.

Bone Graft Using Artificial Bone

dental model and dental tools

Technological advancements have transformed the way you can get a bone for grafting. Dental professionals can now use a number of artificial materials for bone grafts. A few of these include:

  • Polymer-Based Substances – Polymers are molecules that consist of smaller and repeating units. Dentists may go with a polymer-based bone graft, as it fully resorbs into the body over time.
  • Bioglass – Also known as bioactive glass, this material can bond seamlessly and completely to the human bone. The beautiful thing about bioglass is that it’s malleable. Dental professionals can change the form to a putty or paste, making the material suitable for shaping into a jawbone socket.
  • Ceramic – This non-metallic and inorganic material is tough and can withstand high temperatures. Like bioglass, it can integrate with the existing jawbone.

Your dentist will suggest these options to aid in your dental implant procedure. With both bone grafting and oral implants, you’ll get to enjoy a restored smile that you can be proud to share with your family and friends.


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