Many patients requesting implants are deficient in bone volume. For these patients, long-term success of implant therapy requires us to regenerate or regain this lost bone. While this is not necessarily an easy task, it does have a high degree of success when carried out with skill and knowledge.
Loss of bone volume can be caused by a variety of factors including: poor extraction technique, infection, trauma or accidents, and periodontal (gum) disease. Also, if your tooth was extracted long ago, it is likely that the bone around the lost tooth has degenerated (resorbed) to some degree and needs to be augmented before it can support an implant.
Bone grafts can be done when the tooth is extracted. This is otherwise known as a socket preservation as this procedure aims to preserve the bone volume at the time of the extraction. It can be completed 6 weeks after an extraction or months after the tooth was lost. Whether or not you require a bone graft, and when this graft needs to be done is determined at the consultation appointment.
The primary source of graft material is cadavers from a bone bank. Allograft bone is harvested, cleansed, treated and tested under the the very close supervision of bone banks. It is delivered as small sterilized bottles of crystals that look like coarse salt. This type of bone harvesting has been going on for years and has supplied bone for millions of medical and dental procedures with no instances of transmitted disease or rejection like in organ transplants.
There are alternatives to allograft bone, such as bone from your body (autogenous) and cow bone (bovine). The advantage to allograft over autogenous or bovine sources is that there is an unlimited supply, we don’t have to injure another part of your body to get the material (as in autogenous) and it completely changes into your, natural, living bone to the point that the grafted bone becomes indistinguishable from the original bone.
Like all procedures we provide, the bone grafting procedures are evidence-based, safe and predictable. They are as or more effective than traditional (autogenous) alternatives that are more invasive and result in greater post-surgery pain and recovery time.
After a bone-augmentation procedure, you will be given antibiotics, pain medication and an antibacterial mouthwash. You will be asked to avoid certain foods, and will be told how to avoid putting pressure on the area while it heals. If you wear a denture, you may not be able to wear it for a month or longer while the area heals. If you have natural teeth near the bone graft, your dentist may make a temporary removable bridge or a denture to help protect the area.
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