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While considering a dental implant for a patient, the dentist has to check whether the patient's jawbone can support the newly implanted tooth properly. A reduction in the volume of the jawbone is possible due to many factors like, gum disease, injury, infection, etc. If the patient had lost the tooth long back and now wants a dental implant, it is possible that the bone has eroded with time and is incapable of supporting an implanted tooth. The reduced volume of the jawbone may make the dental implantation unsuccessful. Thus, it is necessary to check if bone grafting is needed, before the actual implantation of the tooth.

What is Bone Grafting for Dental Implant?

Bone grafting is a technique for increasing the volume of the missing or eroded bone. In dental implant, a new tooth is set in the patient's jaw. The proper volume of supporting bone is a necessity for success of this procedure. A dental implant may fail if the dentist discovers that the supporting bone is reduced in the middle of the implant surgery. So, the first step before starting the procedure is to check the volume of the supporting jawbone and to perform a bone grafting if the jawbone is missing/ reduced. Bone grafting for dental implants, in simple words, is harvesting a jawbone that will help in support the implanted tooth. The source of the bone used, decides the type of bone grafting procedure. Following are various types of bone grafting procedures for dental implants:

Autogenous
This procedure uses the bone taken from the patient's body. It gives the best result amongst all types since the bone used is natural and has cells that will grow easily. Usually the bones present in the chin or in the rear part of the jaw are used for grafting; however, in rare cases, the bone is taken from a part, other than the patient's mouth, like the hip bone. When part of the hip bone is used for harvesting, the patient needs to be hospitalized. The patient is anesthetized, and the physician removes a part of hip bone by surgery. Using this bone, the dentist will create a platform at the site of dental implant.

Allograft
This procedure uses a cadaver bone or synthetic bone. There are bone banks that provide these cadaver bones for grafting purposes. These bones are not directly used for bone grafting. Before using these bones, they are sterilized and tested for suitability with the patient's body.

Alloplastic
This procedure uses synthetic material such as calcium phosphate for bone formation. The use of synthetic material stimulates the body to form a natural bone at the site of dental implant.

Xenograft
This procedure uses animal bones, like a cow bone. The bones are sterilized and processed to make them compatible with the patient's body. They act as fillers since the patient's body will gradually convert them into natural bones.

Sinus lift graft and block bone graft are other two techniques used for dental implant. Both these methods use a different way of harvesting the bone. Once the grafting is done, it will take months (6 months to one year) for the grafted bone to blend with the natural bone. The dentist will monitor the bone graft at regular intervals and ensure that the healing is as expected. Once the dentist finds that the bone is completely harvested, it is now capable of supporting the implanted tooth, and dental implant can be performed. Although the entire procedure is lengthy and painful, it is important to ensure a successful dental implant.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.