If you want a dental implant but have a weak bone structure along the jaw, then your dentist may suggest a bone grafting procedure so your implant has a strong foundation. There are many different types of bone grafts that can be chosen, and your dental professional will use your own bone if this is possible. This type of graft is called an autograft. However, it is not always possible to use your own bone. In this case, an allograft will be used instead. An allograft is a human bone taken from another individual. Typically, the bone is taken from a cadaver. If you want to know when an allograft may be a better option than an autograft, keep reading.
When You Need A Large Piece Of Bone
In most cases, autograft bone material is taken from a nonessential bone in your body. The upper curved part of the hip bone called the iliac crest is one of the most common bone harvesting sites. The chin and the back part of the lower jaw may be used as well. While these parts of the bone are considered non essential and small sections of bone will fill in naturally, larger bone openings may not remodel themselves. This can leave you with a weak facial or hip bone with a big opening. This is not ideal to retain your overall health.
Large pieces of bone are typically required if you lost a tooth several years ago. If you wait to replace the tooth, then there will be no artificial structure to stimulate the growth of new bone cells. The jaw will thin out over time and a larger piece of bone will be needed to secure the dental implant. Larger pieces of bone will be needed as well if you are replacing multiple teeth with dental implants. If you are having your full set of teeth replaced with implant secured dentures, then numerous grafts may be needed and will require much more bone material.
Allograft or cadaver bone is a good alternative to natural bone, so you do not need to make a difficult decision between using a large amount of your own bone or opting for cadaver bone. You can also be sure that the allograft is a safe alternative to your own bone. Donors are screened for disease like HIV and hepatitis to make sure that illnesses cannot be passed on to recipients. Also, sterile facilities are used and special processing procedures are followed to make sure the bone is not contaminated before it is placed in your jaw.
When Surgical Risks Are Higher
If you receive your own bone material through an autograft procedure, then there will be two distinct surgical sites that need to be created. The bone harvesting and the implant grafting site will be these two areas. The surgical procedure completed to remove the bone from your body will be more in-depth and invasive than the grafting procedure. A block of bone will be removed from your body, and this painful procedure requires general anesthesia in most cases. Anesthesia can cause health complications, especially if you have a heart, lung, seizure, kidney, or diabetes condition. If you have an underlying health problem, then avoiding the general anesthesia is best. Since the bone grafting procedure is less invasive, local anesthetics and sedatives can be used alone. This means that the single dental surgery is likely to be less risky than if bone harvesting also needs to occur.
Also, the autograft procedure can cause pain issues after the surgery. Short-term surgical pain as well as chronic pain are commonly associated with hip harvested bone. Bleeding risks will be higher as well if you undergo the autograft procedure, especially If you are an older individual or if you take blood thinners or other medications that can cause bleeding.
Talk to a professional at a place like the Cloverleaf Dental Center for more information.