Many patients suffer much of their life because of the deterioration of the jawbone due to tooth extractions, gum disease or injury. Now, there is a treatment that allows us to re-grow bone and increase its strength: bone grafting. Not only does this treatment improve the functionality and appearance of your jawbone, it allows you the option of undergoing a procedure like dental implants, which requires a strong jaw to bond with at the implant site.

Major Bone Grafting

Major bone grafts are usually meant to repair defects of the jaws, resulting from traumatic injuries, tumor surgery or birth defects. Depending on the size of the defect, Dr. Elias will decide where to farm the donor bone. Typically larger sites will be repaired using your own bone, for best results.

The bone used in grafting is either taken from a tissue bank or from your own body. This autogenous bone graft (see below) is used to encourage regeneration of the existing structure by allowing it to bond with a healthy, functioning tissue.

Autogenous Bone Grafts

Also known as autografts, autogenous bone grafts are made from your own bone somewhere in the body separate from the deteriorating site. Bone is usually harvested from your chin, jaw, tibia (shin bone) or hip. These grafts are so successful because they make use of live, healthy bone that still contains cells that enhance growth and strength. This means, when the healthy bone is bound with the weak bone, it will stimulate new growth and restore the area to its prior health. The one downside to this type of graft is that it is a two-part process, one procedure to harvest and one to plant. If your body is susceptible to infection or not strong enough to withstand two procedures, this may not be the right option for you.

Allogenic Bone Grafts

An allogenic bone graft, or allograft, uses dead bone from a cadaver to restore bone health. How does that work? The dead bone is harvested and processed to extract the water. Because the bone does not contain living cells, it is used as a healthy framework for new bone growth. The bone is inserted into the site of the degenerating bone and bonds with it. When the unhealthy bone recognizes this new structure, it works to fill the space, form a bond and create new, healthy bone growth to complete the structure.

Xenogenic Bone Grafts

Xenogenic bone grafting uses a non-living bone of another species, typically a cow, to stimulate bone growth. Similarly to allogenic grafting, this bone is used as a framework for degenerating bone to cling to and use as motivation to grow.

Allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting are beneficial in that they only require one treatment. However, because an autograft uses living bone from your own body, regeneration is accelerated.

Bone Graft Substitutes

Synthetic materials may be used in lieu of real bone as an alternative for bone grafting. These FDA-approved materials include:

  • Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM)/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft (DFDBA): This uses allograft bone to extract collagen, proteins and growth factors and create a processed, sometimes injectable, product to stimulate bone growth.
  • Graft Composites: These are combinations of bone graft materials and growth factors that are meant to closely resemble the makeup of a natural bone. Collagen and ceramic composite are often combined to replicate a natural bone; DBM and bone marrow cells aid in new bone growth; and collagen, ceramic and autograft may be used in the same way to bond degenerating bone with live cells.
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins: BMPs are our body’s naturally produced proteins whose sole job is to promote and regulate bone healing and growth.

During the consultation and initial testing for your oral procedure, Dr. Elias will determine whether bone grafting is necessary in your case. If he does recommend this procedure, he will guide you through the entire process, explaining the pros and cons, suggesting the best method for your case and answering any questions you might have. Allow us to relieve your feelings of stress with a caring and compassionate staff and surgeon.