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Grafting for Implants

Some patients are lacking in bone and gum tissue. There are a wide variety of materials and procedures that can be performed to recreate some of the lost tissue as part of the implant treatment.

When gum tissue is lacking, the dentist can take tissue from other areas of the mouth and graft it to areas where it is needed. Usually the tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth using local anesthetic. The tissue is moved to the area that needs to be built up to create stronger gum tissue with a more natural appearance. This new tissue may require up to 3 months to heal and mature.

When bone is lacking, it can be recreated in a variety of ways depending on the amount that has been lost. If the bone loss is small, the grafting process can be accomplished with the use of products obtained from sources other than the patient. These products are called allografts. If the bone loss is large, bone is obtained from the patient and this is called an autograft.

Allografts

When the bone loss is minimal, the bone can be rebuilt using products out of bottles that are fabricated from human bone, cow bone or from other sources. These products are produced under strict guidelines to ensure safety. They may be used to fill small contour defects in the lower and upper jaw, they may be used to fill extraction sockets and they may be used in sinus grafting procedures. These bottled bone products may require 9 months to mature into solid bone. An allograft procedure may be done under local freezing or general anesthetic.

Autografts

If the bone loss is substantial, the dentist will take bone from the patient and move it to a site where it is needed. Sources of bone include the chin, the lower jaw at the back and sometimes sites outside of the mouth, such as the hip.

Bone obtained from the patient can be grafted in all areas of the mouth to rebuild lost bone including the maxillary sinus. When the patient's own bone is used, the healing time for the bone to mature into solid bone is about 4 months. These procedures have been done for many years and are considered routine. They may be done using local anesthesia or a general anesthetic depending on the type of procedure.
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