dental implant bone grafts

Dental Implant Bone Grafts – Understanding Your Options

Will you need a bone graft before getting dental implants? The extra step to tooth replacement is not uncommon — and it’s nothing to worry about, either, as grafting is a quick and simple in-office procedure.

Oral surgeons perform bone grafts to strengthen the jawbone. Implanted teeth need a dense foundation of bone for proper support, and patients with tooth loss often have significant degeneration.

dental implant bone grafts

If you end up needing a bone graft, your oral surgeon will explain your options. Typically, the surgeon will recommend one of four common grafting materials used with dental implant patients.


An autograft is living tissue harvested from your own bone, typically from the hip or a nonessential area of the chin or jaw.

Because the bone comes from your body, there’s no risk of tissue rejection. However, going with an autograft does add an extra step to the grafting procedure.


Like autografts, allografts are living human tissue. However, the bone comes from a tissue bank — not your body.

Allografts go through thorough testing to verify that the tissue is safe. However, the grafting material is not recommended for high-risk tooth replacement patients.


A xenograft is living bone tissue sourced from another species. For tooth replacement patients, the grafting material is either derived from pig (porcine) or cow (bovine) bone.

Xenografts are safe, and the biocompatible bone effectively provides both strength and density to a degenerated jawbone. That said, the slight risk of rejection makes this material a less desirable choice for certain high-risk patients.


Alloplasts, unlike all the other options, are not living tissue. This grafting material is a synthetic bone substitute, made from a blend of surgical-grade resins and hydroxylapatite, calcium sulfate, calcium phosphate and several other minerals.

Man-made grafting materials have been used for many years, and alloplasts can successfully stabilize a degenerated jawbone. However, for most tooth replacement patients, oral surgeons prefer living tissue over synthetic bone.

Deciding on a Dental Implant Bone Graft

Bone grafts aren’t always required before dental implant surgery. If you have adequate jawbone density to support implanted teeth, the procedure won’t be necessary.

If your jawbone needs added strength for tooth replacement, your oral surgeon will help you decide on a type of dental implant bone graft. Don’t be surprised if an autograft is recommended, as this grafting material offers the greatest regenerative properties. However, if you prefer another option, speak up.

Are you thinking about getting dental implants? If you live in central Indiana, the board-certified oral surgeons at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery have the skill, training and expertise to determine an optimal treatment plan to restore your smile.

With decades of experience placing implants and performing bone grafts and other pre-prosthetic oral surgery procedures, Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly are the leading tooth replacement specialists in the central Indiana area. For more information on our dental implant bone grafts or to schedule a consultation, contact our Indianapolis office today.