What is a Graft ? What is Grafting ?
Graft is the substance that is used to replace or restore the lost or depleted structure in the body. Grafts can be either synthetic or natural. Grafting is the surgical procedure in placing the graft at the required site. In dental treatments, grafts are used in replacement or restoration of lost bone and soft tissue.
Need of Graft in dental treatment
Due to loss of teeth, extensive gum diseases or any trauma, there are chances of loss of bone structure in oral cavity. When a tooth is removed and not replaced with any artificial tooth (any prosthesis) due to disuse of the region, bone gets resorbed. This will pose a significant problem on a later day when the patient desires to get the replacement of lost tooth. Reduction in quantity and quality of bone can also compromise functional and esthetic outcomes of both implants and fixed bridge restorations. In such cases, bone grafts can help to regain the lost volume of bone and thus aid in restoration.
Gum disease, when remains unchecked can extend into the supporting bone within and cause loss of bone structure. This weakens the support for tooth and can lead to shaky tooth/ mobile tooth. In such instances, clinician may evaluate the feasibility and use bone graft to fill the bone defect occurred due to extensive gum disease. Due to gum disease, there can also be loss of soft tissue i.e., the gums can recede from its actual level and tooth/root structure of tooth might get exposed. This can also lead to significant esthetic problem when it occurs in front teeth region. Additionally, it can also lead to dentinal hypersensitivity. To overcome that soft tissue grafts or soft tissue substitutes are used and restored.
Trauma can lead to loss of bone structure. Trauma may occur due to fall or accident and at certain circumstances it can occur during removal of tooth. So to restore the lost bone, grafts may be required.
Augmentation around dental implants – Dental implants are modern age solution for replacement of lost teeth. It requires good amount of bone and soft tissue to be present at the site of implant placement. When there is any deficiency in bone or soft tissue, graft can be used to enhance the site and thus aid in success of dental implants.
Types of Graft used in Dental Treatments
Bone grafts may be obtained from one’s own oral cavity or sometimes from other parts of the body. Such grafts that are taken from own body is called as autologous grafts. There are synthetic grafts which are artificially prepared. Among synthetic grafts there are several varieties of grafts based on their origin, pore structure, crystal structure, resorbing time and so on. They are packed to the defect region which gradually gets incorporated to the region. Although autologous bone grafts are said to be gold standard in providing good results, based on circumstances results may vary.
Soft tissue Graft/ Substitutes
Soft tissue grafts are can be taken from gum tissue that is present adjacent to the defect or may be from the palate region. It involves a surgical procedure to obtain the graft and then place it at the defect site. Soft tissue grafts help in gaining volume of the tissue, level of the tissue to cover the root surface. There are synthetic substitutes as well. They are derived from sources like bovine or porcine collagen. Synthetic substitutes have the advantage of avoiding a donor site surgery.
The dental specialist will decide the right type of graft needed for particular case. When natural bone or soft tissue structure are maintained in good health, need of graft and associated surgery can be avoided. Visit your dentist regularly and keep up your oral health.