This is an example of a bone graft following extraction of a tooth. In the 1st x-ray, you can see a badly damaged upper 1st bicuspid tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy many years ago. In rare cases, teeth can develop recurring infections that destroy the tooth and surrounding bone. This tooth was extracted and a bone graft was placed at the same time.
The 2nd x-ray shows the extraction site after the bone graft had been placed and the site healed. During the first few months following removal of a tooth when a bone graft is placed, the body will actually replace the graft with its own bone, which is what happened here.
Here are some clinical photos showing what the site looked like after the graft had healed.
There are many types of bone grafting material. Some doctors use a xenograft, which is bone from another species such as a cow or a pig. Others use a patient’s own bone, which is called an autogenous graft. Still others use bone from the same species but a different source, which is called an allograft. We prefer human allograft bone for most of our cases here.
Typically, over about 3-6 months, the body will grow new bone in the site of the bone graft and a process known as resorption will occur during which the grafted material is dissolved and replaced by the body’s own bone.
We feel, and many dental professionals and experts agree, that having a sound foundation of bone surrounding the teeth and, in cases like this, for a future site for a dental implant is very important.