Bone Graft

What is a Bone Graft?

Before we jump in to whether or not you will need a bone graft, let’s go over some of the basics so you have a better understanding of what a bone graft is exactly. A bone graft is also referred to as regenerative surgery and it is used to recreate bone and soft supporting tissues lost due to periodontitis – What is periodontitis? It’s just a fancy way to say gum disease! And if you have periodontitis, you may be losing bone support around your teeth. This bone support is very important, and in order to avoid extractions, your prosthodontist may recommend re-growing the lost bone with a graft. Essentially, the goal of bone grafting is to encourage the body to rebuild the bone and other structures that attach a tooth to the jaw.

The Process

First, your prosthodontist will separate the gums from your teeth in order to gain access to the roots and bone. The roots will be thoroughly cleaned, and the holes in the bone will be filled with a graft material that usually consists of your own bone. After this process is completed, your prosthodontist will put the gums back in place and stitch them together. Over the next few months, the grafted material will be encouraged to grow, which will fill in for lost bone and soft tissue.

Bone Grafting Methods

There are multiple methods used for bone grafts including Allograft, Autograft, Bone Marrow Aspirate, and Synthetic Bone Graft.

  1. Allograft: This method involves using bone tissue from a person other than the patient, a donor.
  2. Autograft: An autograft uses a sample of your own (the patient’s) bone tissue which is often taken from the top part of your hip bone.
  3. Alloplastic graft: Otherwise known as a synthetic bone graft, this uses synthetic bone that was created in a lab from a variety of porous substances.
  4. Xenograft: This method uses a graft from a donor of another animal or species such as a cow or pig.

Types of Bone Graft Treatments

We know dental bone grafting has been around for quite some time and the purpose is to recreate strong bone and supporting tissue, but now a days one of the most common reasons bone grafting needs to be done is to prepare for the insertion of a dental implant. When you need a dental implant to replace a missing tooth but the jawbone is not healthy enough or does not have sufficient bone density, the implant will not be able to be anchored securely. Thus, bone grafts are often an essential part of the implant process, which entails inserting a small titanium post into the socket of a missing tooth. Over time, the jawbone begins to grow around the post, holding it firmly in place. When the bone and implant have successfully bonded, an abutment is fitted to hold the synthetic tooth securely, and a crown is then attached to the abutment. There are various bone graft treatments used in relation to dental implants: Sinus Augmentation, Grafts in Implant Site Development, Ridge Expansion, and Socket Preservation.

Sinus Augmentation

A sinus augmentation – also called a sinus lift – is carried out ahead of dental implants when there is insufficient bone height in the upper jaw or the sinuses are too close to the jaw. The procedure increases bone density in the jaw in the area of the premolars and molars, between the jaw and the sinuses on each side of the nose. The sinus membrane is lifted to create space for the bone. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) says a sinus lift can substantially increase the likelihood of a successful implant, and many patients experience little discomfort during the procedure.

Grafts in Implant Site Development

Infected teeth often cause bone loss. In these cases, various types of bone grafts can be performed at the same time as tooth extraction, and an implant fitted later.

Ridge Expansion

A ridge expansion broadens the upper jaw to support dental implants. Bone is divided and bone graft material inserted to create new bone.

Socket Preservation

A socket preservation graft immediately after tooth extraction helps to preserve bone structure and volume. This procedure can avoid a more intricate bone graft ahead of implant placement.

When Will You Need a Bone Graft?

The only way to know definitively if you will need a bone graft is by visiting your dentist or prosthodontist for an evaluation. But now that you know what exactly a bone graft is, let’s cover some of the situations in which you may need one.

  • Missing Tooth: Whether a tooth was accidentally knocked out or professionally extracted, a bone graft may be needed if the tooth was not replaced within an appropriate amount of time. Over time if a jawbone doesn’t have a tooth supporting it, it will slowly begin to deteriorate. Bone grafting both restores and prevents jawbone loss and gives patients better options when needing to replace their missing tooth.
  • Periodontal Disease: Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease causes weakening of the jawbone, which in turn causes teeth to become loose. A dental implant is typically needed to replace those loose teeth, which as we know, will not be viable without a bone graft if the jawbone is not strong enough.
  • Teeth Misalignment: Over time, misaligned teeth can cause bone loss because bone stimulation decreases when teeth aren’t aligned. If someone gets braces to straighten their teeth, they may need a bone graft to support their teeth once their treatment is complete.

Your Bellevue Prosthodontist – Washington State Prosthodontics

At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, we have the only board-certified prosthodontists in Bellevue. Drs. Russell Johnson and Michael Johnson are highly trained and fully capable of addressing patients’ complex dental needs, including bone grafting. The specialists at Washington State Prosthodontics are specialists, not general dentists, and have over 30 years of combined advanced training and experience in the intricacies of prosthodontic dentistry. This makes them uniquely qualified to handle all situations, from the most simple crown creation to the most challenging full-mouth restoration. Have questions regarding your oral health? Give us a call today or schedule a consultation, we’re here to help!