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. 

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 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 your jaw. Autogenous bone grafts are advantageous in that the graft material is your own live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhance bone growth. It also eliminates the risk of your body rejecting the graft material since it comes from you.

Allogenic Bone

Allogenic bone is bone harvested from a cadaver. It is then processed using a freeze-drying method. Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on its 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. When using allogenic bone, Dr. Lee always combines it with growth factors from a small amount of your bone marrow or platelet growth factors from your blood. 

Xenogenic Bone

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 procedure to harvest your own bone. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts and have a less predictable outcome. That is why Dr. Lee always uses growth factors with allogenic bone grafts. He strives for predictable results. He likes to guarantee the success of every bone grafting procedure. 

Bone Graft Substitutes

As a substitute for using real bone synthetic materials mentioned above are available as safe and proven alternatives.

Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft (DFDBA)

This product is processed allograft bone. It is available in the form of powder, putty, chips, or as a gel that can be injected through a syringe.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing. They can be produced synthetically now and are used by not only oral and maxillofacial surgeons but also neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons. Bone morphogenetic protein is expensive to use but incorporating it into your graft is good insurance for a successful outcome. Dr. Lee likes to warrant that your graft will be successful – bone morphogenetic protein is one of several materials he uses, along with your own bone or allogenic bone, to help do just that.