The Good News About Grafting
Many patients do not have enough of the hard and soft tissue structures they need to place dental implants or support removable dentures. The good news is that because of advances in research and technology, grafting of hard and soft tissue can be done in the office predictably and cost effectively, with minimal side effects.
There are three basic choices available when it comes to bone and tissue grafts. Dr. Stastny will be happy to discuss each of these with you to decide which choice is right for your needs.
- Autologous – This is also called an “autograft.” This simply means using your own bone or tissue to be taken from one place and put into another. The advantages to this type of graft are that it is your living bone being placed into the recipient site, there is absolutely no chance of any disease transmission from a donor, and your body should like it the best. The disadvantages are that this will require an additional surgery site to obtain the graft.
- Alloplastic – This is also called an “allograft.” An allograft is tissue that comes from another person. These grafts come from people who donate their bone or tissue to science. The companies that obtain these grafts are regulated by the FDA, the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. When obtaining these grafts, the donors are first screened to make sure they do not have any infectious diseases; the tissues are tested to make sure they do not have any diseases; and finally the graft tissues are put through a sterilization process. The advantages to allografts are that you do not need an additional surgical site to obtain them, and they are plentiful. The disadvantages are that some people may object to having another persons’ tissue placed in them. Ultimately, since these grafts are not living tissue your body will resorb them and replace them with new bone or soft tissue over time, removing any evidence of the original graft.
- Synthetic – These are also called graft substitutes. These come in a variety of forms. Some are made from calcium minerals, some from coral, some from collagen, and the newest are made from recombinant DNA and RNA technology. The advantages to these grafts are that they do not have the disadvantages of the autografts or allografts, and the recombinant DNA and RNA technology have made it possible to grow bone and gum tissue in places where we previously could not. The disadvantages are that these new technologies can be expensive.
The good news here is that whichever graft choice Dr. Stastny and you decide on, all three techniques have similar success rates.