Immediately following an extraction you may opt to have Dr. Frost place bone grafting material in the extraction site. Without grafting the extraction site, your body will remodel and take away a portion of the bone in that area because it isn’t needed anymore. If you are interested in a dental implant in the future, your body may have taken away too much of the bone in that area and placing a dental implant will be very difficult or even impossible.
There are many different types of bone graft materials that may be used. The four most common are listed below:
- Allograft – This is bone that has been thoroughly washed and sterilized from a cadaver. This class of bone is easy, predictable and the preferred method for preserving bone in preparation for an implant.
- Autograft – This is bone from your own body. The advantage is that it is your own bone if you aren’t comfortable with cadaver bone. The challenge is that you have two different surgical sites that must heal. This surgery would be performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist.
- Synthetic Graft – This usually includes minerals that are common in human bone. This method hasn’t been proven to be as predictable for future implant placement and is often used to build up bone under a bridge, especially for front teeth.
- Xenograft – This includes bone that isn’t of human origin; bovine (cow) bone is usually used. This is a grafting procedure that would be performed by an oral surgeon. This technique is used when there tends to be a lot of missing bone because the bone this graft produces tends to be “bulky.”
After a graft is completed, a membrane is placed over the site to keep the graft in position. The white membrane is sutured into place and remains there for 3-4 weeks. Bone grafts usually take a minimum of 3 months to integrate enough into your bone to place an implant. The process isn’t fast but it is worth it.