Bone loss is one of the most serious consequences of missing teeth. It begins as soon as a tooth is lost, when the natural stimulation for bone growth created by the force of teeth chewing can no longer occur. The result can be dramatic—bone width can reduce by 25% in the first year alone after tooth loss. Since a successful dental implant requires the presence of 1 to 1.5mm of bone all around it, bone grafting becomes imperative in these situations.
Fortunately, bone loss isn’t inevitable. Bone loss after tooth loss can be prevented by immediate bone grafting, also known as socket grafting procedure.
How Bone Grafting Works:
There are four main sources of grating materials used in dentistry:
1. Synthetic – Man-made materials usually mixing calcium and phosphates
2. Xenografts – Animal bone derived minerals
3. Allografts – Human bone derived minerals
4. Autogenous – Bone chips obtained from the same patient
The source used will depend on whichever the dentist believes will work best in the patient’s situation. Donor tissue from another person or animal is thoroughly disinfected and safe for grafting.
The graft itself acts more as a scaffold for nearby bone to grow upon; the new bone growth will eventually replace the graft material, which is made up of the minerals calcium, phosphorous and hydroxyapatite. The dentist may also cover the graft with collagen membranes to guide the regeneration, or synthetic material that acts with other biologically active molecules in the body to promote healing. These materials are eventually absorbed by the body.
3 Types of Bone Grafts
- Socket Preservation Grafts -> Bone grafts performed right after tooth extractions; used to repair and prevent loss of bone during healing. Bone replacement material fills the void left by the tooth extraction.
- Onlay Grafts -> Bone grafts performed long after a tooth has been lost; used to repair and regenerate thinned bone on its outside as a result of infections, missing teeth, and aging. This type of grafting uses particulate grafts and block grafts. Particulate grafts are usually reserved for small to moderate defects and the bone is added in the form of particles. Block grafts are reserved for moderate to large defects where bone is added in the form of blocks.
- Sinus Augmentation Grafts -> Bone grafts performed in the upper molar areas usually long after a tooth has been lost; used to repair and regenerate thinned on the inside of the sinus cavity.
You may need grafts if:
- Teeth have been lost a long time ago
- Teeth have been lost due to infection
- Teeth have never developed (congenitally missing teeth)
- Teeth have been lost due to trauma
- You are losing a molar tooth and preparing for an implant
- You are preparing for immediate implant replacement
Why do I need bone grafting?
Dental bone grafts are also commonly used following tooth loss, gum disease, or to maintain bone structures after a tooth extraction. Without healthy facial bone structures, the skin that is supported by the bones is affected and may lead to patients appearing prematurely aged. In most cases, a bone graft can help restore a patient’s bone structure to the necessary shape and give way to successful implant treatment.
Do I need to have grafting before my implant?
Bone grafts may either simultaneously accompany implant placement or may be performed six months prior to implantation. The exact sequencing of treatment varies depending on circumstances specific to your case. Major Dental Clinics uses 3D Cat Scans to evaluate the amount of residual bone and the need for bone regeneration.
What is the cost of bone grafting?
Bone grafting procedures vary greatly and depending on the clinical situation, the costs may range anywhere from $300 – $2000 per tooth site. Each bone graft is used for a specific reason, therefore it is very important to discuss treatment options with your dental specialist during your consult.
Major Dental Clinics dental specialists are highly skilled in bone grafting procedures. They will discuss the type of grafting necessary, benefits, and risks of each procedure as it specifically pertains to you.