Bone grafting in the oral cavity today, especially since dental implants have become the treatment of choice for missing teeth, is a routine, minimally invasive, predictable and practically painless procedure. The only pain might be the needle when administering the local anesthetic numbing potion.
Based on the origin of the bone that will be used to build the graft, dental grafts can be divided into the following categories, each is usually developed with a specific purpose or advantage in mind:
- Autograft/Autogenous: Using bone harvested from your own body (usually another place in the jaw). No immune reaction, but involves a secondary surgical site. Has the best success rate.
- Allograft: Human bone from a deceased donor, comes from a tissue bank, laboratory-processed to make it sterile and safe.
- Xenograft: Comes from an animal — usually a cow.
- Alloplast: Synthetic (man-made) material, typically a type of dental ceramic (calcium phosphates (beta-TCP) or calcium sulphate) that resembles the physical properties of the bone. It comes in a variety of forms: powder, granules, putty or even a gel that can be injected through a syringe.