Bone grafting makes it easier to successfully place dental implants, and restore the strength and appearance of a patient’s jaw and teeth. Often times a dentist will need to increase the amount of bone in a patient’s jaw. Recent developments in bone grafting techniques have made implant treatment possible in cases that would have otherwise been unfeasible just a few years ago. If bone grafting is required for your case, it may add to the cost of your overall treatment and increase your time line and risks.
There is more than one bone grafting technique, but they can be grouped into two types.
The first and most extensive type of bone grafting is done as a separate surgery from the implant placement. This type of graft is intended to make large changes to the shape and size of the dental ridge, so that a stable implant can be placed, usually several months later. Specialists such as oral surgeons or periodontists generally perform these procedures.
In the second type of bone grafting, the jaw may already have enough bone to place the implant, but not enough bone to completely cover the sides of the implant. These types of grafts are generally small in size and are performed at the time of implant placement.
Certainly the larger procedures can be predicted and planned well in advance; however, the smaller grafts done at the time of implant placement cannot always be predicted and must be available to the surgeon in order to give your implant the best chance of success. It is vitally important that you and your dentist agree on this point before the start of the surgery.
Bone graft material comes from four general sources – your own available bone, freeze-dried human bone from a tissue bank, processed bone elements from animals, or a mineral bone substitute.
The most effective graft material is your own natural bone, then freeze dried human bone, followed by processed animal bone, and lastly, mineral bone substitute.
The safest and most desirable source of bone grafting material comes from your own body. The act of drilling the jawbone for placing the implant naturally produces bone shavings. These shavings can be cleanly collected and used as grafting materials. In the cases of larger grafts, surgical procedures have been developed to harvest additional bone from other places in your body.
While they’re completely sterile, mineral bone substitutes are the least effective. The most popular mineral graft materials do not actually remain in the body, but are naturally absorbed by the body and replaced by healthy bone.
Consider receiving human donor bone or animal bone elements to be the same as receiving blood from the blood bank, with a similar level of risk. The processing techniques used to prepare the freeze-dried bone and the animal bone elements results in graft materials that have proven to be extremely safe. Also, only materials from a reputable, well-managed national tissue bank are used. There is an extremely small chance that infectious disease could be transmitted through either of these materials.
If you’d like to discuss this surgical option with Dr. Lombardo, CONTACT US today to schedule your consultation.