Bone grafting replaces missing bone in case of injury, infection, or disease.
The bone grafting can be made of natural, artificial, or synthetic bone.
The new bone is surgically attached to bones where a stronger bone is needed.
Bone grafting works because bone can regenerate itself. The patient’s own bone gradually replaces graft material — eventually building up a new, strong section of bone;
- Larger bone grafts are often used for fractured bones, especially complex ones.
- Fusion helps to strengthen joints that have become weak due to disease.
- Regeneration grafts help to replace bones lost to injury, infection, or disease.
- Bone grafts help the bone to heal around surgically implanted devices.
In dentistry, bone grafting helps to make dental implants successful. If patients have a tooth extracted and want an implant, there must be sufficient bone in their jaw to support the implant.
Sometimes, the patient’s jaw isn’t thick enough to support an implant, or the bone is soft. In this case, the dentist uses a bone graft. After the graft is placed, the transplanted bone begins to grow new bone. Depending upon the size of the bone graft, an implant post along with the graft may be able to be done on the same visit. Larger bone grafts require separate healing steps.
The process of growing new bone, or “osseointegration,” which combines the patient’s own bone with the graft, can take several months. Once osseointegration is complete, the bone is strong enough to support the metal implant post just like a jaw supports the root of a natural tooth. At this point, the dentist can place the metal post that supports a dental implant. Not all dental implants require bone grafts, but they contribute to implant success and future dental health.