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. A bone graft 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 halt the progression of 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.
- Allograft– Bone can be obtained from a bone bank (cadaver bone), which when placed stimulates the body to form new bone. This is the most common type of bone graft used in periodontics.
- 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 the graft stimulates the body to form new bone.
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 bone graft entails elevating the sinus membrane and grafting bone onto the sinus floor so that implants can be securely placed. It has become a very common and successful procedure for recreating bone in the back of the top arch.
Ridge augmentation – The bone graft is used to fill in the ridge and make the jawbone a uniform shape for implants and/or cosmetics. When teeth are lost, the bone will shrink (atrophy).
What does bone grafting treatment involve – Bone grafting is a fairly simple procedure which may be performed under local anesthetic.
A small incision is made in the gum tissue and 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 dissolvable barrier (membrane) 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. This means that your bone cells can migrate to the protected area and grow naturally.
- Platelet-rich growth factors–A high platelet concentration liquid can be used to create a blood clot at the site of a wound. It has recently been discovered that PRGF also stimulates bone growth – meaning a denser graft in a shorter time period.
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.