What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a safe and highly successful procedure that involves “building up” or adding bone to the jaw. Bone grafts can be placed in a site where there is no longer a tooth or around an exiting tooth or implant. The bone graft material comes from a human donor or in some cases from an animal source. The bone is mixed with growth factors to aid in healing. After the bone is placed it is covered with a membrane, which covers and protect the new bone. Stitches are used to hold everything in place. Bone grafts normally take between 3 and 6 months to fuse and become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone.


When is bone grafting recommended?

There are several situations in which patients can benefit from a bone graft. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Dow assesses your  bone levels and determines if and what type of a bone graft is necessary. Types of bone grafts include socket preservation to fill in bone following removal of a tooth, augmentation grafting to build-up bone that was previously lost, or bone grafting around a tooth to help strengthen its support.


Socket Preservation

When a tooth is removed, it leaves an opening in the jawbone called a “socket”. In the absence of tooth roots,the jaw bone atrophies, or shrinks.This can lead to further tooth loss, and compromise the integrity of the jaw bone.
To prevent this, when a tooth is removed, donor bone tissue or a bone substitute is placed within the tooth socket to significantly delay any bone atrophy. Dr. Dow then covers the site with a natural fiber material that facilitates healing. After the site has healed, your jaw will provide a viable foundation for a dental implant, the one restorative solution capable of permanently halting jawbone atrophy.


Bone Augmentation

If there is significant bone loss or a very small amount of bone present prior to tooth removal, bone augmentation may be needed. Several types of bone regenerative procedures can be performed in order to increase the height and width of the jaw bone to allow for dental implants. Procedures aimed at growing the jaw ridge are often referred to as ridge augmentation whereas procedures aimed at growing the height of the jawbone toward the sinuses is referred to as sinus augmentation.


Bone Grafting Around a Tooth (Guided Tissue Regeneration)

Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR) “regenerates” the previously lost gum and bone tissue. Guided tissue regeneration is able to stimulate growth of gum tissue and bone previously lost to disease, injury or atrophy, creating a more solid foundation for natural teeth and implants. The GTR procedure is often accomplished utilizing membranes that are inserted over bone defects, and in combination with a bone graft. These bone grafts consist of small particles of your own bone, tissue bank bone or synthetic material that help stimulate bone growth or hold the space for your bone to regenerate into. In certain cases GTR involves the placement of a barrier over the lost bone area. The barrier effectively separates the soft tissue from the bone, thereby creating space for bone to grow. By utilizing our cone beam CT scan, our ability to assess the shape, size and extent of bone loss is improved greatly..


Bone Grafting Around an Implant

If a dental implant can be placed at the same time as a tooth is removed then healing time can be greatly reduced. Because a dental implant is not shaped exactly the same as the root of a tooth, bone graft needs to be placed to fill the gaps around the implant. After an implant has integrated it may develop bone loss due to peri-implant disease which is similar to periodontal disease. The treatment for this condition is often cleaning the area and placing a bone graft.