Dr. Tal Lewinger Dental NewsDr. Tal Lewinger is a general dentist and owner of Marketplace Dentistry in Vaughan, Ontario practising eco-responsible (and fun) family and cosmetic dentistry and

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Tal Lewinger - Friday, July 03, 2015


What is a bone graft?

A bone graft is also known as bone augmentation, which is the process bone type materials are added to your own bone, in order to make your bone larger. In the case of dental implants, the bone that is to have bone grafting done on is your jawbone. Bone augmentation uses one of four types of materials:

1. bone from another part of your own mouth, such as your chin 

2. bone from a cadaver, which has been freeze dried and sterilized

3. bone from an animal, such as a cow, which has also been sterilized

4. a man-made type substance, such as bone morphogenetic protein, which stimulates some cells in your body to turn into bone cells

Why do I need a graft?

Your dental implantologist will have recommended that you have a graft in order to ensure that your dental implant has the most chance at being successful. This is because your jawbone may be too short or too narrow for a dental implant to be inserted. A graft will make your jawbone taller and or wider so that an implant will fit.

What happens during bone grafting?

The procedure of grafting will depend on which type of bone or material is being attached to your jawbone. If the bone is from your chin, then maybe only one surgical procedure is required. If it is from your hip bone, then a hospital visit and a general anaesthetic would be needed. Most commonly a piece of bone is taken from your chin, where a local anaesthetic is given and a cut is made inside your mouth below your lower teeth. Then a piece of bone is removed and the area stitched up. The bone is then inserted through a cut which exposes your jawbone and the bone piece is fixed in the area that it is needed with titanium screws to the jawbone. Six to nine months are needed to heal this area before the implant can be placed. This will ensure that the jawbone is strong enough to hold the implant, as well as strong enough for the implant to be used by you!

There are four major types of bone grafting. Alloplastic grafting, xenografts, allografts, or autogenous or auto grafts. The most popular and the most successful of all the grafting techniques is the autogenous grafting process. In the field of bone grafting this process is referred to as the gold standard. With the grafting of the bone into the jawbone. The jawbone is regenerated with the aid of the grafted bone.

Allografting is similar to autografting. A human donor provides the bone to be grafted instead of designating a source site from the patient's body in the allografting procedure. Specialized bone banks serve this purpose similar to blood banks where bone samples have been donated by people. Allografting is an option for people who do not desire to go for autogenous grafting. Human cadavers provide the donor bone via bone banks. The donor bone is thoroughly sterilized and examined before the process of grafting is initiated. The donor is assimilated into a natural jaw bone by the patient's body.

In the xenografting procedure the source of the donor bone is an animal. This is where the previous two techniques differ from this third one. The preferred source of the donor bone is a bovine or a cow. The safety aspects are the usually the patients worries and patients might also feel slightly uncomfortable about the process but the donor bone undergoes scrupulous examination before being grafted.Cow bone is more expensive then human bone but it lasts longer after being transplanted. 

In the alloplastic technique the donor bone is a man made graft. This is why this process is different from the other three techniques where the donor bone is from natural sources.

Do grafts actually work? Grafts have a very high success rate, especially if you use your own bone. When you have a graft, it is not like having an organ transplant - there is no chance of rejection. However some grafts do fail, requiring another graft to complete the implant. Some patients who smoke, drink or have some medical conditions are more likely to have a failed bone graft.

At Marketplace Dentistry we offer a full range of surgical services from: Emdogain, gum surgery, tooth extraction, bone grafting, sinus elevation, implant surgery (ceramic or titanium) and more to the Maple, Vaughan, Richmond Hill area. Please Call 905-303-6080 to book an appointment today. 

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