When you loose your teeth and decide to do nothing about for a long time, uncontrolled bone loss excessively reduces the jawbone. This makes it difficult to restore your smile your dental implants, bridges or even dentures as there is very little bone for support. The good news is that bone can be rebuilt through modern bone grafting techniques. These techniques represent one of the greatest advances in modern dentistry today.
There are generally four types of bone grafts used:
- Autografts are those where the bone to be grafted to the jaw is taken, or harvested, from your own body. This is the ideal solution as the bone is 100% compatible with your body.
- Allografts are taken from human donors. Heart transplants are one type of allograft. Bone obtained in this manner undergoes rigorous tests and sterilization. Your body "converts" the donor bone into your natural bone, thereby rebuilding your resorbed jawbone.
- Xenografts are harvested from animals. Emdogain (enamel matrix proteins) for example, is harvested from developing teeth in pigs and processed to make it biocompatible and sterile for human use. Emdogain promotes the formation of tooth attachment and bone formation. After this replacement process is complete dental implants may be placed to support teeth.
- Alloplastic grafts are inert, man made synthetic materials. For bone replacement a man made material that mimics natural bone is used. Depending on how it is made, your body may or may not replace the alloplastic graft with your natural bone. In either case, the end result is to create enough bone for the placement of dental implants.
Modern bone grafting techniques can be nothing short of a miracle for those needing bone replacement to regain the beauty of a natural smile and a younger-looking appearance.