In order to make dental implant placement and restoration more predictable, your implant surgeon may recommend bone and/or soft tissue (gum) grafting. The graft is used to restore missing tissues and to provide a more optimal environment and support for the implant(s) and the prostheses. Bone grafts could be a solid block or in particulate form.
There are different sources for bone grafts. These are:
- Autogenous—using the patient’s own tissue
- Allograft—using tissue from another human
- Xenograft—tissue used from another creature (e.g. bovine)
Most popular site of autogenous bone for dental implant is the mandible (lower jaw) followed by the iliac crest (hip). The advantage of autogenous bone is that not only the bone scaffolding is grafted, but also living cells that promote and hasten the healing. It is therefore, considered the “gold standard”. The disadvantage is that another surgical site may be needed. Surgeons at Interface Centre are experienced in the surgery needed both for obtaining the bone (harvest) as well as build up of the deficient site (grafting).
Allograft and xenografts are procured by highly regulated and controlled processes to ensure consistent quality as well as safety. Some of the advantages of these grafts are that no additional surgical sites are needed and that large volume of bone is available. These grafts cannot be “rejected” as the cells that prompt rejection are removed during the processing. The chance of disease transmission is exceedingly small since the procurement process is very tightly regulated and controlled. The main disadvantage of these grafts is usually the cost. The healing of these grafts are also usually slower than autogenous bone.
The grafting surgery using the mandible (lower jaw) is similar to removal of a third molar (wisdom tooth). It may be done in the office or in a hospital setting, on an out-patient basis. For your comfort, your surgeon may offer you the choice of intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia technique. For bone build-up of a small area the surgery typically lasts less than 45 minutes. The “down time” is usually 3 or 4 days with less discomfort than a third molar removal. You may resume a diet of softer foods (e.g. pasta, eggs, fish, or similar) right away. Hip graft is used when larger volume of bone is needed and may require an additional few days of healing. During that time, modified ambulation is recommended until you are more comfortable. Most grafts are expected to have incorporated in about 3 to 4 months, when the implant(s) can be placed.
In most cases, there is adequate bone available to securely house the implant(s) but the contours of the area are suboptimal. In these cases, your surgeon may do “contour augmentation” grafting, using particulate material, at the same time as the implant placement. This type of procedure is usually imperceptible and will not add any discomfort (or healing time) to the implant surgery.
Your surgeons at Interface Centre are experts in implant and mouth/jaw reconstructive surgery. We will be pleased to assist you in your treatment to restoring your missing teeth, proper function, esthetics, and healthy life.