About Bone Grafting

What is Bone Grafting?

Over a period of time the areas of the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophy (resorb and remodel). This often leaves an area in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone for placement of dental implants. In these situations many patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.

With bone grafting we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing but also the ability to promote new bone growth in that location! This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width but also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.

Types of Bone Grafts

Autogenous Bone Grafts:

Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are your own bone taken from somewhere else in your body. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, lower leg bone, hip, or skull. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is live bone containing living cellular elements that enhance bone growth.

However, the downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body. Depending on your condition, a second procedure may not be in your best interest.

Allogenic Bone:

Allogenic bone, also known as allograft, is bone harvested from a cadaver which is then processed (freeze dried) and sterilized either chemically or with radiation.  Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on it’s own. Rather, it serves as a framework or scaffold over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.

Xenogenic Bone:

Xenogenic bone, also known as xenograft, is bone harvested from another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Like allogenic grafts, xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.

Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting are advantageous in that they do not require a second procedure to harvest your own bone as with autografts. However, because they lack the autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer and may be less predictable.

Bone Graft Substitutes

As a substitute to using real bone, there are many synthetic materials available as safe and proven alternatives.  These can be used alone or in conjuction with natural bone grafts.  

Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft (DFDBA):

This product is processed allograft bone which contains collagen, proteins, and growth factors. It is available in many forms including powder, putty, chips, or as a gel that can be injected through a syringe.

Graft Composites:

Graft composites consist of other bone graft materials and growth factors to achieve the benefits of a variety of substances. Some combinations may include collagen/ceramic composite which closely resembles the composition of natural bone.  DBM may be combined with bone marrow cells or a  collagen/ceramic/autograft composite may be used which aids in the growth of new bone.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins:

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing.

Synthetic materials also have the advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest bone, reducing risk and pain. Each bone grafting option has its own risks and benefits. Dr. Benedon will determine which type of bone graft material is right for you.