Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bone Graft

I have family that lives all over the world and am often asked for advice over the phone. My cousin that lives in Los Angeles was recently informed that she has a bone defect and will be undergoing a bone grafting procedure. She asked if and why she needed a graft. Unfortunately, this is like diagnosing a car problem over the phone. So for her benefit, I am writing in general terms about bone grafts.

What is a dental bone graft? There are many different types. Basically it's bone or bone-like material, or bone regeneration inducing materials. We place them in bony defects. The grafts can be one's own bone, from another human, from animal bone, synthetic bone or collagen based materials that promotes bone growth. Each material has it's advantages.

So why do we place bone grafts? Generally, there is either a bone defect or there is insufficient bone. This can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, trauma, periodontitis, and tooth loss to name a few.

Bone loss from trauma and localized periodontitis

Trauma is self-explanatory. Some forms of tooth trauma are preventable such as in athletics. Therefore you should always wear an athletic mouthguard in sporting events in which trauma is highly likely.

There is often significant bone loss in people suffering from periodontitis. This is from chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and bone.

What most people do not realize is that when teeth are lost, bone is also lost; and as time progresses, more and more bone is lost since the bone is not in function.

The loss of bone shortens the face and lip support is lost.

Bone loss from missing teeth and periodontitis

Bone grafts allow for more predictable and ideal outcomes. They allow us to salvage a tooth (teeth), they improve the fit and comfort of dentures, they allow us to place implants and allows us to get a more aesthetic result.

Bone grafts allow placement of implants
No graft placed resulting in unaesthetic defect

If you have bone loss or a bone defect, discuss potential options with your dentist. He or she should help you make a decision that is right for you.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

1 comment:

  1. Bone grafting surgery, helps to repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries in the mouth.