Auburn Periodontics and Implantology

Joseph M. Haynes, DDS


Bone Grafting

Bone loss in the jawbone is common when one or more teeth have been lost. Bone around a missing tooth begins to deteriorate over time when the jaw is not stimulated. Over time, there may be enough deterioration in the jawbone that prevents placement of dental implants. In such cases, Dr. Haynes will likely recommend having a bone grafting procedure. This is the replacement or augmentation of missing bone around your teeth.

There are three types of bone graft procedures: autogenous, allograft, and xenograft:

Autogenous grafts take bone from one area of the patient’s body and transplant it to the location in the mouth being restored. The bone is usually taken from non-essential bones such as the chin area. The benefit of an autogenous bone graft is that the bone used comes solely from the patient thus reducing the likelihood of rejection and infection. The bone is also still “live”, meaning it still has active cellular material.

Allografts also use human bone transplanted to the area in the mouth being restored. However, allografts do not use the patient’s own bone. Instead, the bone usually comes from cadavers who have donated their bone to bone-banks. All allograft bone material is carefully screened and is considered very safe.

Xenografts also replace bone in the area requiring treatment, however the bone comes from a non-human source. Usually the non-human source is bovine (cow). Allografts and Xenografts are used because they do not require a second surgical site to harvest bone and ample amounts of bone can be easily attained.

The Procedure

Anesthesia is used to numb the area where the procedure will take place. An incision is made in the gums around where the bone will be augmented. This is done so that Dr. Haynes can see exactly how much bone will be need before harvesting it from the patient (if an autogenous graft is being performed).

Next, Dr. Haynes will make a cut in the gums below the lower front teeth in order to expose the chin bone. Dr. Haynes will then remove a part of the bone along with any bone marrow. This incision is then closed with stitches. The bone removed from the chin will then be anchored in place in the jawbone with small titanium screws. Dr. Haynes may place a mixture of your bone marrow and some bone-grafting material around the bone graft to help speed healing. The incision is then closed with stitches.

After the procedure you will likely be given antibiotics as well as pain medication. You’ll be asked to follow a restricted diet of soft foods, such as pastas and Jell-O. Bone grafts usually take between six to nine months to fully heal. Dental implants will not be placed until your mouth has healed completely.