About Bone Grafting
What is Bone Grafting?
Over a period of time, the jaw bone associated with missing teeth atrophies and is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for the placement of dental implants.
With bone grafting we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing, but we also have the ability to promote new bone growth in that location. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Types of Bone Grafts
Autogenous Bone Grafts
Autogenous bone grafts, also known as autografts, are made from your own bone, taken from somewhere else in the body. The bone is typically harvested from the chin, jaw, lower leg bone, hip, or the skull. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is your own live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhances bone growth, also eliminating the risk of your body rejecting the graft material since it comes from you.
However, one downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body. Depending on your condition, a second procedure may not be recommended.
Allogeneic bone, or allograft, is dead bone harvested from a cadaver, then processed using a freeze-dry method to extract the water via a vacuum. Unlike autogenous bone, allogeneic bone cannot produce new bone on it’s own. Rather, it serves as a framework, or scaffold, over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.
Xenogenic bone is derived from non-living bone of another species, usually a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Like allogenic grafts, xenogenic grafts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.
Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting have an advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest your own bone, as with autografts. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts, and have a less predictable outcome.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing. Bone morphogenic protein-2 is an isolated protein that induces specific cells in our body to form new cartilage and bone. During surgery, the BMP is soaked onto and binds with a collagen sponge. The sponge is then designed to resorb, or disappear, over time. As the sponge dissolves, the bone morphogenic protein stimulates the cells to produce new bone. The BMP also disappears once it has completed its task of “jump-starting” the normal bone healing process.
Since there is no need to harvest bone from a second donor site, patients are spared donor site pain. Complications from the graft harvest site are also eliminated.