Mary Ann Hanlon, DDS, MS
Practice Limited to Periodontics

Bone Grafting

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of bone loss in the oral cavity.   Bone grafting procedures provide ways to not only replace bone support lost to oral infections, but also improve esthetics.   

There are several types of dental bone grafts.  The following are the most common:

  • Autogenous bone graft – For this type of graft, the bone is removed from elsewhere in the body and implanted in the mouth.  Common donor sites for bone grafting include the iliac section of the pelvis, the chin and the posterior jaw.  If large amounts of bone are required, the hip or the shin bone may be used.

  • Allograft – For this type of graft, the bone is obtained from another human source, usually a cadaver.  FDA approved tissue banks provide allograft materials.

  • Xenograft – For this type of graft, another species provides the bone.  The most frequently donor source for this type of graft material is the cow. 

Reasons for bone grafting

Bone grafting procedures are used in many situations, including the following:  

Dental implants – Implants need to be firmly anchored to the jawbone to be effective.  If the jawbone lacks the necessary quality or quantity of bone,  grafting can strengthen and thicken the implant site.

Ridge augmentation – Resorption of the jawbone can occur due to trauma, injury, birth defects or severe periodontal disease.  Ridge augmentation gives the jawbone a more uniform shape, enhances esthetics and improves tooth support.   

Socket grafting -  After a tooth is extracted, the healing process results in shortening and narrowing of the jawbone.  Placing a bone graft in the socket preserves more of the original shape of the jaw. 

What does bone grafting treatment involve?

Bone grafting typically accompanies other procedures such as extractions and peridontal surgery.  The process may be enhanced by one or more of the following:

  • Guided tissue regeneration – A barrier membrane (resorbable or non resorbable) is placed between the gums and the graft material.  This barrier separates the faster growing gum tissue from the slower growing bone and periodontal ligament fibers.  This means that bone cells can migrate to the protected area and grow naturally.

  • Tissue stimulating proteins – Enamel matrix proteins are instrumental in the process of tooth development.  Emdogain is a matrix protein product that may be placed in a surgical site before the gum is sutured.  This may enhance the re creation of bone support in areas affected by periodontal disease. 

  • Growth factors –Growth factors are proteins released by cells during the wound healing process.  Application of these substances to a surgical site is believed to significantly aid periodontal regeneration. 

If you have any questions about bone grafting, please ask your periodntist.


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