The optimal replacement option for a missing tooth has become the dental implant with an attached implant crown. The placement of an implant depends on the presence of a healthy foundation of bone in the area of the missing tooth. When a tooth is removed a healing process begins, and through this healing process, the surrounding supporting bone will eventually erode away over time. In order to preserve this bone foundation for implant placement, it is often best to perform a bone grafting procedure in the same procedure as the tooth removal. This is a relatively simple procedure where bone grafting material is placed in the tooth socket, much like “potting soil”. The dentist will often elect to place a membrane over the bone graft in order to hold it in place during the healing process. This can be thought of as a “tarp” that holds the “potting soil” in place.
Bone grafting is not always necessary; however, it can be a beneficial treatment, particularly if the patient plans to replace the tooth with an implant and implant crown in the future
The bone graft material often comes from cleansed and purified cadaver bone. The grafting material may also come from animal sources, either bovine or porcine sources. There are instances when the bone graft material comes directly from the patient, however, this requires a second surgical site and is often avoided if possible.