In order for a dental implant to be successful, there must be enough bone in the jaw and the bone needs to be strong enough to support the implant. Following an extraction of a tooth, the supporting bone begins to shrink both in height and width. After an implant is surgically placed into the bone, it acts as a root substitute for a natural tooth. This process helps to stabilize that bone so that it doesn't continue to shrink away.
Bone grafts are used to fill in a defect where the bone is missing around the teeth or where additional bone may be needed for implant placement. In cases where there are defects or lack of bone, it is necessary to create bone through the means of bone grafting. Even if there is excessive bone shrinkage, a dental implant may still be an option. Dr. Dhaliwal can grow back the lost bone using regeneration procedures so that an implant can be placed. Commonly, there are four types of grafting materials that can be used and they are as follows:
- Autograft - otherwise referred to as "patients own bone"; bone can be taken or harvested from a "donor" site in your own body. Since it is your own bone, it has a very high success rate due to it's compatibility with your body.
- Xenograft - bone that is collected and harvested from animals; commonly bovine (cow) bone is used. Animal bone substitutes as a "filler" and in time, the body naturally turns the animal bone into natural bone.
- Alloplastic - known as "man made bone"; this bone is a form of calcium phosphate, a synthetic material. There are times where the body will turn the calcium phosphate into natural bone and there are times where it will not. In cases where the synthetic bone does not turn itself into natural bone, the calcium phosphate will act as a scaffold where natural bone is built in the body. The goal for both cases is to create enough sufficient bone to help support a dental implant.
- Allograft - Processed bone from other human beings.