Bone loss due to gum disease or another dental issue prevents many patients from the immediate placement of dental implants for tooth replacement. Before the dentist can place their implants, these patients often require bone grafts to help rebuild the bone at the implant site. Although the best source for bone grafts can be the patient’s own bone, this presents issues as the secondary surgical site could be in an area such as the pelvic bone. Patients are often also uncomfortable with the idea of bovine bone, equine bone, porcine, or cadaver material, but there may be another option currently in development.
Using Extracted Teeth as Bone Graft Material
A bone graft solution in development, but not yet approved for use in the United States, is to use a patient’s extracted tooth to create the bone graft material. The extracted tooth receives processing to remove materials such as metal or composite fillings and then goes into a tooth grinder. The grinder transforms the tooth into small, uniform particles that are then added to the bone graft material processor where they’re sterilized and prepared for formation into the bone graft. Processing the material usually takes around half an hour and then the dentist can either store or place the bone graft for the patient.
Although the technology to transform an extracted tooth into bone graft material hasn’t been approved for sale or use in the United States, the results show promise. It will probably be many years before this type of treatment becomes available in this country. Regardless, as research continues and includes long-term follow-up, it shows that grafts made of tooth material can provide a stable base for dental implants. In areas where the technology is in use, the clinical results have been very positive so far. Until the technology undergoes further research, it’s still unknown if it’s safe for general use, but it does represent a potential innovation in restoration dentistry.
There are many bone grafting options in use today that work safely and effectively for patients in need of additional support before receiving dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, don’t let uncertainty keep you from having a complete, healthy smile. With a complete smile, you can experience increased confidence, improved social and business relationships and be on your way to achieving optimal overall health. Contact Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics today so discuss tooth replacement options including implants.