What is a Bone Graft?
A bone graft is a procedure that uses bone from either the patient or another source to maintain or build bone in the jaw. This graft serves as a scaffold until the body replaces it with the patient’s own bone.
When is Bone Grafting Done?
Bone grafting is typically done at the time of a tooth extraction to prepare the site for an implant, but can also be done to maintain bone for a bridge or denture. Without a bone graft, a blood clot will form and eventually transform into bone. However the resulting bone loses some width and height due to lack of internal support. A bone graft serves as a scaffold to prop up the area while the site is healing, a process known as ridge or socket preservation. This procedure has a high success rate, as the four bony walls protect the graft.
Guided bone regeneration (GBR) is a bone grafting procedure done separately from a tooth extraction. It may be required if a patient decides later on to get an implant or if the bone is not as wide as anticipated despite ridge preservation. GBR can be a difficult procedure, as there is no rigid surface protecting the bone from external forces that often disrupt proper healing. It has a higher failure rate compared to ridge preservation.
If you are considering a dental implant, getting a graft at the time of the extraction is highly recommended.
What are things to consider regarding Bone Grafting?
Bone commonly used in oral surgery comes from either an animal or human donor. Xenograft (animal bone) is denser than human bone and will take longer to be replaced by the patient’s body. It is a good option when unsure about getting an implant, planning an implant more than a year after extraction, or wanting a wider ridge for a denture or bridge. Human bone (autograft or allograft) is the most commonly used bone and maintains the shape of the jaw while healing. It is a good option when wanting to get an implant as soon as possible after extraction.
If you have religious beliefs regarding the type of bone your body can accept, you should inform your provider. Grafted bone can come from humans, cows, pigs, or horses. In addition to bone, a covering is often used to hold the bone in place. This is often made from cow or pig.
Who should you choose to perform your Bone Graft?
If you plan to have an implant, the ideal person to place your graft is the provider who will be placing the implant. Dr. Raju does not place implants. However, we do ridge preservation at South Austin Oral Surgery as we often see patients for emergency extractions and want to ensure our patients are properly setup for implants with another provider.