Dental Implants: Bone Grafting

One of the most common reasons that people are ineligible for Dental Implants is that there isn’t enough bone in the jaw to allow for a successful integration of the titanium implant. Without enough bone, dental implants have a high risk of failing and can be impossible to embed into the jaw. This ends up leaving many people, especially the elderly (or those with dentures for an extended period of time), at a loss for how they will replace their missing teeth and prevent the further deterioration of bone.

Now Dentists, knowing that this is a major issue for many of their clients, have started several different bone grafting treatments in an attempt to make dental implant procedures possible. This is a great new step towards making beautiful smiles all around the globe.

Get a FREE online consultation!
Hundreds of people have already received free advice, information, and treatment options through our online consultation service. It's completely free and there are no strings attached.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants 101

Don’t let yourself be deterred from bone grafting because the process itself is actually simple. It’s up to the dentist or other dental professional to assess the amount of available bone and from that point determine whether or not a bone graft will be suitable. At this point you’ll be presented with the different bone grafting treatments and will keep you informed on what each one will involve.

When your dentist/dental professional has come to a conclusion on whether or not you’ll need a bone graft for dental implants, the dentist will make an incision in the gum where the bone graft will be located. This makes a flap of skin where the bone will be added. With the area open around your gums, the dentist adds the bone to the area and then protects it with special membrane. The membrane protection is meant to prevent bacteria and other germs/virus’ that are in your mouth and provides the ideal environment for the bone to heal in place without infection. The last step is to take the flap of skin the dentist opened up and stitch it back over the newly added bone. There will be a fair bit of time before it’s completely healed up but the entire process will usually take 4 month. However, this can vary from person to person. As an additional precautionary measure, bone grafting patients are given antibiotics following surgery to prevent serious infection.

A step that dentists take to measure your new bone growth and see if the bone graft was successful is by taking x-rays. With an x-ray they can determine how much more bone they have to work with. When your dentist approves the bone graft as suitable for dental implant surgery, he/she will begin the next stage of your dental implant procedure.

Bone Grafting Treatment Types

For sake of information and keeping you well informed, I will be including the names and detailed descriptions of each treatment and hopefully answer some of the questions you might be asking about the subject of bone grafting for dental implants.

Autografts – In this bone grafting procedure, bone is removed (also known as harvested) from the body of the patient and then is grafted onto the jaw bone. The bone is typically taken from the hip or mouth. It’s possible in rare cases that bone is taken from elsewhere but I haven’t heard of any situations. Due to the fact that the bone that is extracted is from the body of the patient, an Autograph (kind of like autobiography, as in written by you about you but bone from you instead) is one of the most successful treatments out there. The grafted bone usually is compatible with the jaw bone.

Pros of Autografts

  • Disease is not transferred in this treatment because the grafted bone come the patient.
  • Autografts have a high success rates and poses little to no risk of being rejected from the patients body.
  • The bone grafting process stimulates new bone growth in the mouth.

Cons of Autografts

  • Due to fact that this is an invasive operation, some dentists won’t perform this procedure.
  • Two operations are needed. One from harvesting bone from the patient, and a second from grafting the bone into the patients jaw.
  • There is a bit of pain involved where the bone is extracted from and can leave pain the that area for a while.

Xenografts – In this bone grafting procedure, bone is harvested from an animal. The most common animal used for bone grafting is cows. I know what you’re thinking, “From cows?! That’s so unsanitary!” and that concern is valid. However, the bone extracted from the animal is processed and sterilized to makes sure that it will be bio-compatible. When bone from an animal is used, the patients own natural bone will take the place of the animal bone after a period of time. The animal bone only really acts as a filler.

Pros of Xenografts

  • This procedure will only take one appointment as the bone isn’t harvested from the patient.
  • When animal bone is used, natural bone growth is encouraged in the body.

Cons of Xenografts

  • There is a slight chance of bovine spongiform encephalopathy because all organic aspects of the bone are extracted.
  • There are quite a few people that don’t want to have a bone grafted from an animal.

Allografts  – In this bone grafting procedure, bone is extracted from a human donor. This procedure is similar to organ donors in the event of their death. The bone that’s harvested will undergo a number of tests, treatments, and sterilization technique that make sure that the bone will be safe to graft into the patients body. When the donor bone is added to the patients jaw bone, it slowly grows and develops into natural bone and the jaw bone rebuilds itself.

Pros of Allografts

  • This procedure will only take one appointment as the bone isn’t harvested from the patient.
  • When animal bone is used, natural bone growth is encouraged in the body.

Cons of Allografts

  • Possibility of a negative immune system response. (Similar to allergies.)
  • A transfer of disease is still an outcome.
  • The integration of bone may take longer because it comes from a donor.
  • Having harvested bone from a donor can make it weaker.
  • Once again, there are people who prefer not to have someone as their donor.

Alloplastic grafts – In this bone grafting procedure, a man-made material is added (most often calcium phosphate, similar to bone) to the patients jaw. Such man-made materials are meant to act like natural bone and do a great job at that. With this type of graft, the material gets slowly absorbed into the body and encourages bone growth. Most people would consider this option to be the best, but it is highly debated.

Pros of Alloplastic Grafts

  • Diseases are out of the picture with a synthetic graft.
  • Dentists are easily able to measure the proper amount of material to add to the patients jaw bone.
  • Just a single procedure is needed for this bone graft.
  • This graft is made out of biodegradable material and so the body is ready to accept it.

Cons of Alloplastic Grafts

  • There is a small percentage that the body will reject the graft.

Costs of Bone Grafting

The bone grafting is usually added to the complete cost of the dental implant procedure. As to how much it will add I can’t give an exact answer without knowing the specific situation. It’s best to get a rough estimate of how much more the dental implants will cost including the bone grafting surgery.

If you want more information on dental implants or have some questions that we can answer, head over to our main page at: Dental Implants Winnipeg and check out our Frequently Asked Questions page. Thanks for reading.

About Brock Vandor

This article was written By Brock Vandor. He's the owner of the Vandor Denture Centre and is a local 'smile expert'. You can learn more about Brock on Google+.

Speak Your Mind


Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box