Bone grafts are commonly utilized to assist a variety of procedures including tooth replacement with dental implants, corrective jaw surgery, and pathology. Most commonly, a bone graft is used to replace missing bone prior to placement of a dental implant. After a tooth is lost, the jaw bone changes shape and progressively resorbs, or shrinks. Bone grafts are used to prevent this resorption until an implant is placed or to replace bone which has already resorbed. In most cases, patients need only a small volume of additional bone. Once the graft is placed, it takes 4-6 months to fully incorporate and achieve maximal strength.
There are several types of bone grafts that can be used, they include:
- Autograft: A bone transplant where a small amount of bone is taken from another part of your jaw or body and moved to the site to be repaired. This is commonly performed for reconstruction of large defects and can be taken from other sites in the jaw bone itself, frequently, the hip.
- Allograft: Bone from a human donor. The cells and proteins are treated to ensure no infectious risk, and only the structure of the bone remains to allow your own bone to replace it with time.
- Xenograft: Bone from a cow or other species of animal. It is also treated in the same way as allograft to remove infectious risks. It is generally used in conjunction with other types of grafts.
- Growth Factors: Molecules and proteins that stimulate your body to re-grow your own bone. Examples include BMP (Infuse), Emdogain (EMD), GEM21 (platelet-derived growth factor).
Each type of graft has its advantages, and our doctors can explain their rationale in how they individualize grafting to each patient’s need. In conjunction with grafting, PRF, or platelet rich fibrin, is frequently used as an adjunct to assist with adding the patient’s own growth factors to the grafting site.
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