Bone Grafts 101

Bone grafting is used when surgeons need a more stable area to perform an additional procedure like putting in dental implants. It involves getting bone from the patient’s own body, a donor or even synthetic sources and adding them to the desired area. As the area heals the donor bone fuses with native bone to fashion a solid area for the next procedure. The oral surgeons at Fort Worth Oral Surgery use bone grafting regularly, specifically in cases where a patient has lost bone mass in their jaw due to injury or disease. So let’s dive into what a bone graft is, how it is used in oral surgery, and its potential risks and benefits.

Bone Grafting: The Quick Definition

So, a bone graft entails taking bone from one place in the body and adding it to another area of the body where additional bone is needed. The bone tissue used for the graft can be taken from the patient, from a donor, or from a synthetic source. The transplanted bone tissue then fuses with the existing bone over time, creating a stronger foundation for dental implants or other procedures.

Bone Grafting in the 20th Century

Let’s start with a little history so you get an idea of how safe and refined bone grafting has become. Although the procedure has actually been done for more than a thousand years, modern bone grafting began with some serious innovation in the early part of the 20th century. The first successful allograft (a bone graft where the bone comes from another individual) was performed in 1905 by Dr. Alexis Carrel. With his success, the floodgate of innovation opened and orals surgeons everywhere gained an added edge in positive outcomes.

The 1930s saw the development of “vascularized bone grafting”. With VBG, the surgeon uses a piece of bone along with its blood vessels for the graft. This improves the chances of the graft surviving. VBG is in use to this very today.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the development of synthetic bone grafting materials, like hydroxyapatite which can be used to augment bone and promote bone growth. Current oral surgeons use many synthetic bone grafting materials in conjunction with autografts and allografts to optimize bone healing and regeneration.

Today, using stem cells in bone grafting has been researched and applied in some surgeries. Stem cells (you’ve probably heard of them) are cells that have the potential to develop into different types of cells, depending on where they’re used . We can improve bone healing and regeneration by using stem cells in bone grafting.

Uses of Bone Grafts in Oral Surgery

Bone grafts are commonly used in oral surgery to rebuild jaw bone mass lost due to injury or disease. In cases where a patient has lost all or most of their natural teeth and needs dental implants placed, a bone graft can be used to firm up the base where we put the implants. Dental implants require a strong, stable jawbone to be successful, and a bone graft can provide the necessary support.

Another use of bone grafts in oral surgery is to correct a condition called a “recessed jaw” or Mandibular retrognathia. This occurs when the jaw bone recedes or shrinks due to injury or disease. A bone graft can build up the jaw bone and give the patient a more youthful appearance.

Risks and Benefits of Bone Grafts

As with any surgical procedure, bone grafts carry some risks. Risks include infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. Not to worry, though. You need to know that the risks associated with bone grafts are generally low, and the procedure has a high success rate.

There are a lot of outstanding applications for bone grafts. They can provide a strong foundation for dental implants and dental implants can go a long way toward improving the patient’s ability to eat, speak, and smile. Bone grafts can also enhance a patient’s appearance by correcting a recessed jaw. Additionally, a bone graft can prevent further bone loss and preserve the remaining jaw structure.

Get the Facts Today from Forth Worth Oral Surgery

The only way to know what will be involved with a procedure is to get an expert consultation and make a plan to suit your needs. Now you know what a bone graft is and how all oral surgeons use them to improve outcomes. Contact Fort Worth Oral Surgery today and get started with keeping your oral health in top shape.

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