Pros And Cons Of Non-Human Bone Grafts For Dental Implants

Dentist Blog

Dental implants are artificial teeth with a metal root that has to fuse to your jawbone. So it's important for that foundation bone to be strong before the implant procedure. If disease and infection have eroded that bone, you might first have to go in for a bone graft.

There are various types of bone grafts. Human-derived grafts come from either your own body, which requires additional surgeries, or from a donor cadaver, which might not sound appealing to you. But there are also a couple of non-human origin grafts that you can discuss with your oral surgeon or dentist:

Xenograft: Cow Bone

A xenograft is a modified sample of cow bone that can be used as a support structure in the weakened jaw region. The bovine bone can prove nearly as effective as human bone in getting a healing response from the surrounding tissue.  Once your own tissue and bone grow around the grafted bone, your dental implants can be installed.

A potential downside to xenografts is the potential for the spread of cross-species infection or disease. There isn't a lot of data available pointing to the level of risk of xenografts but it's a matter you can discuss in depth with your dentist.

Xenograft really just means bone taken from another animal. The term itself isn't cow-specific, but bovine bone is among the safest xenograft materials. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the potential use of primate bone in grafts due to the increased risk of disease.

Alloplast: Synthetic Material

An alloplast graft is made of a synthetic material such as the mineral hydroxylapatite. The advantages of synthetic grafts are that the materials are readily available and can prove cheaper than some of the other options. The synthetic nature also means you aren't at risk from any donor-specific infections or diseases.

The downside is that synthetic materials don't' work as well as the other alternatives such as human or bovine bone. Your body will still heal around the synthetic graft but the process can take longer.  But the longer wait might be worth it to you for the relative safety of this graft material.

Non-Human or Human Graft?

Human-derived grafts, specifically those taken from your own body, have the best safety and efficacy profile. But if that isn't an option for some reason, you should discuss non-human options with your dentist to consider the pros and cons for your particular situation. To learn more, contact a company like


12 March 2015

Emergency Dental Care

The average dentist takes many client appointments each day and also deals with emergency situations on a regular basis. Dental emergencies are very common because people are likely to put off having tooth pain fixed until the pain becomes unbearable. Some people have anxiety about dental visits, and others are trying to avoid the expense of dental care. In either case, the end result is often a dental emergency. I have worked as a professional dental hygienist for many years and have seen all types of dental emergencies. I hope that this blog will help people identify potential emergencies before they become too serious and will allow people to know when to get help.