Some people looking for dental implants to replace one or more lost teeth may not have adequate bone to support the dental implant. These people need a bone graft before the dental implant can be placed. But where will the bone graft come from? You have many options.

From Your Own Body (Autograft)

One of the the obvious sources for a bone graft is your own bone. There are many places where you have “extra” bone that can serve as donor sites, including:

  • The top of the skull
  • Pelvis
  • Tibia (shinbone)
  • Jawbone (often there may be excess bone where your wisdom teeth were
  • Chin
  • Lower part of the skull behind your upper jaw

The main disadvantage of this source of bone graft is that it requires a second surgery that has its own risks including a risk of complications. Some studies suggest that the jawbone is the best donor site in terms of low risk of complications.

Donor’s Body (Allograft)

The grafts are typically taken from donor’s bodies and can be used either as a block or as particles, depending on the need. They are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized using antibiotics, gamma radiation, and ethylene oxide (which kills fungal spores) to ensure there is no risk of contamination.

Bone Graft Alternative

Human Skeleton modelIn addition to actual bones, you can have a bone graft made using synthetic alternatives. Usually, this is a bone-like synthetic material, but it may also be a functional substitution that encourages growth of your own bone material. Bone graft alternatives include magnesium-enriched hydroxyapatite, calcium sulfate, and heterologous porcine bone (kind of like a pork sausage, only made with bone). Other times we may try to use bone-growth proteins to encourage your bone to regrow.

How to Choose?

In the end, the right bone graft material for you depends on many factors, such as whether you are willing to have donor site surgery, the amount of bone needed, the amount of stress the implant may be under, and how quickly you want the dental implant to be ready.

Our preferred bone graft material is the bone substitute that has the strongest record of successful treatments: Bio-oss, a bone substitute made from the mineral portion derived from the bones of Australian cows. We will talk to you about your options in detail when we plan your surgery.

To learn more about this and other factors influencing your dental implant procedure, please call Rice Dentistry in Irvine, California at (949) 551-5902.