Bone grafting is needed to repair, strengthen, or replace parts of your natural bone that have been weakened or need to be prepared for surgery. For example, dental implant surgery requires a strong jawbone to support the dental implants. Several types of bone grafts can be used for this procedure. Various tissue regeneration techniques can be used as well.
Bone Graft Selection
In general, there are four types of bone grafts that people can choose from. These are xenografts, alloplasts, autografts, and allografts.
Xenografts are bone grafts that are taken from an animal donor. These are easy to come by and they can be transformed into your own bone tissue. However, these grafts do not stimulate new bone formation.
Alloplasts are a synthetic material that mimics natural bone. These are also readily available and can transform into natural bone material. However, like xenografts, they do not stimulate bone growth.
Autografts are the most successful since they are grafts taken from a donor site on your own body, so it is already your own bone tissue. However, this does require two different surgical sites.
Allografts are obtained from a cadaver. These are not as successful as autografts, but still offer a good chance of success.
How Bone Grafts Are Placed
Our oral & maxillofacial surgeon meets with patients for consultation and x-ray collection before the surgical procedure. At this point, the two of you will decide the best bone graft type for your case. Anesthesia options for this surgery will be thoroughly discussed.
Our oral & maxillofacial surgeon first incises the area where he intends to place the bone graft. The graft is placed and shaped to fit this area. We can use a variety of small dental tools, like pins, screws, wires, plates, and cables, to hold the graft in position. After the graft is secured, our oral & maxillofacial surgeon will stitch the incision closed. He will also provide bandaging to control bleeding and prevent infection.
We will send you home with an instruction packet on recovery. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for the graft to heal completely. We typically tell patients to use ice and over-the-counter pain medicine to reduce inflammation and tenderness while they recover.
How Guided Tissue Regeneration is Done
Guided tissue regeneration is used to stimulate bone production. When you lose bone tissue, your body naturally fills the space with soft tissue. However, we can use guided tissue regeneration to regrow bone tissue rather than soft tissue.
There are three components to this procedure. First, our oral & maxillofacial surgeon performs flap surgery to clear bacteria from the gums. During this surgery, a membrane is placed where the damaged bone is, which keeps soft tissue from forming in the area. This may also be placed at the same time as a bone graft. Second, our oral & maxillofacial surgeon will close the incision with a suture and allow the membrane time to heal. Third, approximately six months later, our oral & maxillofacial surgeon removes the membrane, though it may also dissolve on its own during recovery.
Call Oral & Facial Surgery in the Lewiston/Clarkston region at 208-743-1640 or in the Moscow/Pullman region at 509-330-5020 to learn more about bone grafting procedures.