What Is a Bone Graft? In medical jargon, a graft is understood to be a transplant of live tissue placed on a problem area in the mouth to help it grow, strengthen, and work as it was always intended. This is commonly seen in dentistry with bone grafts, where live tissue is used to help repair and replenish a patient's loss of bone. This is no different when it comes to dental bone grafting. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that rebuilds diseased bone by transplanting bone located in a separate area. An oral surgeon or periodontist most commonly does this procedure, and it usually occurs before a dental implant procedure. This graft helps regenerate any lost bone due to periodontitis or other forms of tooth decay and infection. Why would I need a bone graft? When harmful bacteria invade the mouth, causing infection, it can make the teeth decay and eventually fall out. Once this happens, the jaw bone and alveolar bone are no longer constantly stimulated due to the lack of tooth roots in the area. Over time, this causes the bone to break down, weaken and decay inside the gums. Bone decay can also be caused due to severe periodontitis and gum disease that has never been and is not regularly treated once the bone begins to break down. Not only does a person's face shape change, but so do their bite and speech in some severe cases. Especially when someone wears only a denture where the bones never receive any stimulation, the restoration will eventually need to be switched out to adjust for the new bite and facial structure. A bone graft becomes necessary when a patient is ready to receive dental implants. Much like All On 4 dental implants, dental implants require a solid and sturdy bone structure for the implant post to screw into. If the bone is weakened, then the implant will not integrate correctly, and the implant will eventually fail. A bone graft allows the bone to rebuild and strengthen for a dental implant. It may also allow a person to keep their existing teeth, eliminating the need for tooth extraction. A Bone Graft Procedure A periodontist will perform a surgical bone graft during periodontal surgery in which the diseased gums receive proper care. During the procedure, the periodontist will cut open the gums and fold them back to be able to see everything. During this time, they will begin to clean any harmful bacteria that have infected the gum tissue. Once the area is clean, the bone graft material is then placed to help rebuild that specific area. There are different types of bone graft procedures: 1. Autograft Grafting your own bone from the hip or jaw bone. 2. Allograft Grafting material that is taken from a human donor 3. Alloplast A graft not taken from a person but uses synthetic materials. These materials usually contain calcium, phosphorus, and hydroxylapatite to act as natural bone. 4. Xenograft Grafting material that comes from an animal. It is best to talk to your periodontist to help you understand your specific situation and what will work best for you.