A graft is a portion of bone, either from the patient or another source, placed into the jaw to correct functional or cosmetic issues resulting from bone loss or reabsorption. If you’re preparing for oral surgery such as getting dental implants, your surgeon may have recommended bone grafting based on their assessment of your condition.
Below are three types of bone grafting procedures commonly used to support the success of oral surgery.
With a sinus lift, your oral surgeon places a bone graft in the upper jaw, farther back in the mouth. It’s typically needed when the maxilla bone is not substantive enough to support dental implants.
Additional bone is placed at the bottom of the sinuses, effectively increasing their height, and over time, the bone integrates fully with the maxilla, becoming strong enough for a successful dental implant.
The width of your jawbone’s ridge can predict whether it’s possible to get dental implants. If it’s too thin, they won’t be adequately supported, so it’s essential to widen the surface area with a procedure called ridge augmentation.
Your surgeon will split the ridge at the top, placing grafting material inside. Once it heals, the ridge will be strong and wide enough for the surgeon to successfully embed the implants.
After tooth loss, your jawbone will no longer support the socket that used to surround the missing tooth. Instead, the body will begin the reabsorption process, where the bone recedes due to a lack of nutrients and support. To keep the socket intact, your oral surgeon will place bone grafting or scaffolding material inside, then close the incision with stitches.
If socket preservation is done immediately and correctly, you will avoid jawbone loss and potentially the need for any additional bone grafting in the future, if you’d like to get an implant in place of the lost tooth.
More About Grafting Materials
You have multiple choices when it comes to bone grafting materials. An autograft is a bone graft that’s taken directly from your body — your hip, chin or shin. You may need to undergo general anesthesia if this is the route you’d like to take.
An allograft is bone material taken from a human cadaver. This material is thoroughly scanned and sanitized before it enters the grafting bank. It’s completely safe.
Other options are a xenograft, which is material is taken from animals, or an alloplast, which is synthetic bone material.