Block Bone Graft – What Is It And Why Do You Need It?

Dentist holding a bone graft model. -Vallejo, CAIf you are missing teeth, you’ve probably heard of dental implants. Block bone grafting, on the other hand, isn’t exactly a household term. If your dentist has recently recommended block bone grafting, you’re probably wondering, “what is it and why do I need it?”

Block bone grafting is a dental procedure that implants a new section of bone into your jaw when you lack sufficient bone mass to support dental implants, or you have recently had a tooth extraction. It is a major graft procedure that uses the patient’s bone tissue or a synthetic bone material to create additional jaw mass.

Let’s explore this topic in greater detail, break down why you may need it, and walk you through the procedure. We’ll also explain some of the outcomes and possible side effects. Let’s get started!

Why Patients Need Block Bone Grafting

Block bone grafts are most often used when a patient has previously lost a section of teeth, and they were unable to get dental implants before their alveolar ridge began to deteriorate. When they finally go in for dental implants, they lack the support needed to hold onto the implant.

A block bone graft is a surgical procedure that creates additional support by grafting new bone tissue into the jaw and helps encourage natural bone growth. 

Compared to other bone grafting procedures, a bone block is more invasive than a socket graft, which can be done immediately after removing a tooth, as with wisdom teeth. Additionally, if the bone deterioration is severe, you may also require a sinus lift procedure.

Why Do Tooth Extractions Cause Bone Loss?

After you have a tooth removed, you may suffer some bone loss if you don’t receive dental implants right away. The alveolar bone, in particular, is prone to deteriorating if left barren for too long. This is because it helps support and holds onto your teeth. Without any teeth, the bone serves no purpose and will atrophy.

Over time, your jawbone can also begin to deteriorate. As we chew, the pressure from our teeth helps strengthen the jaw muscles and jawbone. Without a tooth in place, that section of your jaw can also begin to atrophy.

The Bone Grafting Procedure

Before you undergo implant surgery, your dentist will take x-rays and CT scans of your head and jaw to determine whether you have a sufficient amount of bone mass to secure dental implant placement. If you are missing bone mass, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon to have a new section of bone grafted into your jaw.

More often than not, your surgeon will use an autogenous graft, meaning they will take a block of bone from your lower jaw, hence the name “bone block” grafting. Without a doubt, this option can raise the cost of the bone graft procedure. However, by using your existing bone tissue, the risk of implant failure is greatly reduced. As another option, your surgeon may use a donor’s bone.

Allograft Bones

Allograft bones are sanitized bone samples recovered from a human cadaver. After an organ donor dies, sections of their bone tissues are harvested and sent off to be used as grafting material. The grafted bone is less likely to be rejected because it matches human bone tissue.

Xenograft Bone

Xenograft bone is another term for a bovine bone sample. A bovine bone graft is less expensive than an allograft or autogenous sample, but it comes with a higher risk of being rejected by the body.

If your surgeon uses a native bone sample, they will begin by removing a section of living bone and then graft it into your oral cavity at the implant site using a set of tiny screws. Once the graft is in place, it will take up to four months to heal completely.

Outcomes And Complications

After surgery, your dentist will prescribe pain killers and a regimen of antibiotics to prevent infections and soreness. If you do not take care of the graft site, complications may develop, including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling and soreness
  • Rejection of the graft
  • Severe secretion of bodily fluid

If complications develop, contact your oral surgeon immediately to prevent an implant failure. Once the graft fuses with your upper jaw and new bone formation begins, your surgeon will then be able to place implants and restore your missing tooth.

Conclusion

If you suffer from a bone deficiency or have had a tooth missing for some time, your dentist may recommend that you receive a block bone graft before getting a dental implant. 

It is a proven technique guaranteed to help secure your dental implant in place. For more information, contact our trained staff at Rotary Way Oral Surgery to schedule an appointment and begin your treatment plan.

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