Bone grafting

Bone Augmentation, or as it is commonly known Bone Grafting, is the process of replacing, or rebuilding bone in the jaw using bone or bone-like materials in order to support dental implants.

Grafts range in complexity from supplementing the bone beside one implant to making significant changes to the shape and size of the dental ridge. Small grafts can be performed by a dentist during implant surgery, while extensive procedures are usually performed by a specialist such as an oral surgeon, prosthodontist or periodontist several months before.

Bone loss can be caused by trauma, an abscess/infection and periodontal disease. The density of bone beneath missing teeth will factor in deterioration of bone over time. Patients who have been missing teeth for months or years often require bone grafts before they can get implants.

 What to expect

After extraction – When your doctor removes a damaged tooth, it leaves behind a void where the tooth was. Bone loss occurs without the tooth present to stimulate the jaw bone. Placing bone graft material in the void left behind will promote bone growth.


Ridge Augmentation – Bone loss occurs when teeth are no longer present to stimulate the bone. Too much bone loss will require a ridge augmentation procedure to rebuild the lost bone and restore your jaw bone to its natural shape so it can support dental implants.

Material used include:


Your Own Bone – This source is the safest and most effective because it integrates very well and there is no risk of infectious disease, contamination or tissue rejection. The bone is typically harvested from the chin or jaw, but a shin or hip can also be used. Disadvantages of this source are that it requires two surgical sites, is more expensive and if the bone is taken from the hip or shin, requires general anesthesia and hospitalization.

Human Cadaver Bone – Freeze-dried and sterile, cadaver bone obtained from a reputable tissue bank is more affordable and generally quite safe, although it does carry some risk. Using human bone carries a similar level of risk of transmitting infectious disease to receiving blood from the blood bank.

Animal Bone – Cow bone, or Bovine Bone has been commonly used for many years. It is sterilized and processed to minimize infection. This graft material is naturally absorbed by the body and replaced with real bone over time.

Mineral Bone Substitute (Synthetic) – Although less-effective than the other options, these sterile bone-like materials are second only to a patient’s own bone in terms of safety. This material is also absorbed and replaced over time.

When considering a Bone Graft it is necessary for the Dental Team to know the precise location and volume of bone nerves and sinus spaces. This is possible with a Cone Beam CT scan. Cone Beam CT scans are an invaluable diagnostic aid, particularly where multiple implants are considered. They are so accurate that it is possible to have 3D guides constructed that can help determine exact implant positioning

Keven Peoples