Bone Augmentation

When teeth are lost, the bone surrounding the teeth is removed naturally by the body in a process called resorption – this is a natural process as the bone is only required when there are teeth to support.

Resorption takes place very quickly in the first 6 months and then slows, but never stops. The jaws, over time, appear to shrink and, if left untreated, the loss of bone from the jaw can progress so far that a denture will not stay in place, no matter how much denture fixative is used. Bone augmentation may be required during or prior to dental implant treatment and there are 4 different types of materials used for this:

Autografts

Is where bone is taken from the donor site in your own body and placed in the recipient site. The donor site is normally the hip or the mouth. This is your own bone and is very compatible with your body. Autografts are a good graft technique and usually result in the greatest regeneration of missing jaw bone, but they do require a second surgical procedure to harvest the bone and the body resorbes this bone this quickest.

Allografts

Is where bone is taken from human donors. Many countries have programmes where you can donate this bone and when it is obtained in this manner, it undergoes rigorous tests and sterilisation. Your body converts this bone into your natural bone thus rebuilding the defect.

Xenografts

Are harvested from animals. The animal bone, most commonly bovine (cow), is specially processed to make it biocompatible and sterile. It acts like a filler which your body initially uses like a scaffold to build new bone on and then, in time converts the xenograft material to your own bone. This is a very easy system to use as the “replacement bone” comes out of a bottle.

Alloplastic

These grafts are inert, man made synthetic materials that mimic natural bone: they are usually a form of tricalcium calcium phosphate. They are again very easy to use as they come out of a bottle, and work in very much the same way as Xenografts.

Visit our Smile Gallery to see examples of work we have carried out