Leland and Wilmington area patients who have a lack of bone density in the jaw can greatly benefit from a bone grafting procedure. Under the proficient care of Dr. Austin at Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, patients can have the bone grafting procedure to restore bone tissue and increase the stability of the jaw. In addition to providing cosmetic improvements, bone grafting is often used prior to a dental implant procedure to ensure the patient has enough bone to support the implant.

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a procedure that helps add new bone to parts of the jaw that have thinned out over time and promotes new bone growth in the treated location. The procedure works by taking bone from another part of the body, taking bone from a donor, or using a synthetic substance and then placing it underneath the gums in the deficient part of the jaw. Over time, the jaw will produce more tissue to secure this material in place, creating a solid and stable bond. Overall, the process corrects any deficiencies the patient is facing and restores both functionality and aesthetic appearance.

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Reasons for Bone Grafting

The main reason patients in Leland and Wilmington require bone grafting is because they are missing teeth. The jawbone is used to receiving stimulation from these teeth, so when they are lost, the bone starts to deteriorate by reabsorbing into the body. While this bone loss might not be noticeable at first, over time, it will become apparent in the profile of the face with collapsed or distorted features. Patients will find their face starts to sag, making them look far older than they are. Jawbone loss can also develop into additional problems with the overall health of patients such as:

    • Misalignment, drifting, loosening or loss of remaining teeth
    • Limited lip support and difficulty speaking
    • Skin wrinkling of the mouth
    • Jaw pain, facial pain and headaches
    • Inadequate nutrition as a results of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
    • Sinus expansion

Therefore, bone grafting can be used as a way to restore both cosmetic appearance and function to the mouth by rebuilding the jawline for a stronger profile.

Of course, when a person has missing teeth, it’s natural for them to seek replacement teeth to fill the gaps in their mouth. Dental implants are one of the most-natural and longest-lasting ways to accomplish this. Unfortunately, if it’s been a few years since the teeth have been lost, the jawbone might have deteriorated to the point where it does not have enough density to support the implants. Dr. Austin uses 3-D imaging to assess if there is any lack of bone density, so Leland and Wilmington area patients who are seeking dental implants will positively know that bone grafting is the first step to rebuild their jaw and create a stable base.

There are a few other reasons for bone grafting, which include:

    • Periodontal Disease – Teeth may need to be saved from ongoing infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth and subsequently lead to loss of your teeth.
    • Tooth Extractions – After a tooth is extracted from a previous procedure the exposed hole may cause the jawbone to breakdown due to lack of stimulation such as chewing and biting and will need to be filled in.
    • Trauma – The jaw may need repairing after it suffered damage from physical injury (broken teeth, knocked out teeth, fractured jaw). The trauma can cause an irregular or lack of a biting surface causing jawbone stimulation to stop.
    • Tumor Surgery – The function of the jaw will need to be restored after surgical removal of a malignant mouth tumors that almost always spread into the jaw. Grafting in these causes may be more challenging because treatment of the tumor generally requires removal of surrounding soft tissue as well.
    • Unanchored Dentures/Bridgework – Bone growth may need to be restored after a lack of proper care, repair and refitting of dentures and bridgework caused lack of stimulation in the jawbone.
    • Osteomyelitis – This is a type of bacterial infect in the jawbone and bone marrow that would required removal of the affected bone and grafting to recovery function and growth.
    • Developmental Deformities – Some conditions known as birth defects are characterized by missing portions of the teeth, facial bones, jaw or skull. A bone graft restores function and growth where it may be absent.

Mark C. Austin, DDS

A Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Mark Austin keeps his patients’ comfort first and always provides the highest of compassionate care.

Types of Bone Grafting

When Leland and Wilmington area patients choose to have bone grafting performed, they’ll have several different options when it comes to the source of the grafts. The four main types of bone grafts are autografts, allografts, synthetic bone, and xenografts.


Autografts (autogenous bone grafts) are one of the most common types of bone grafts. In this type of graft, Dr. Austin harvests bone from another part of the patient’s body (usually the chin, lateral knee, hip, skull) and then transplants it into the jaw. Autografts are advantageous in that the graft material is live bone, meaning it contains living cellular elements that enhance bone growth.

However, one downside to the autograft is that it requires a second procedure to harvest bone from elsewhere in the body. Depending on your condition, a second procedure may not be in your best interest.


An allograft (allogenic bone graft) is bone that’s collected from a donor that’s not the individual in question. Usually, this bone material is taken from a cadaver. The bone is processed using a freeze-dry method to extract the water via a vacuum. Unlike autogenous bone, allogenic bone cannot produce new bone on it’s own. Rather, it serves as a framework or scaffold over which bone from the surrounding bony walls can grow to fill the defect or void.


A xenograft (xenogenic graft) is bone material that’s taken from a non-living donor animal, such as a cow. The bone is processed at very high temperatures to avoid the potential for immune rejection and contamination. Like allografts, xenografts serve as a framework for bone from the surrounding area to grow and fill the void.

Both allogenic and xenogenic bone grafting are advantageous in that they do not require a second procedure to harvest your own bone, as with autografts. However, because these options lack autograft’s bone-forming properties, bone regeneration may take longer than with autografts, with a less predictable outcome.

Synthetic Bone

Thanks to the advances of dental technology, there are now various synthetic bone materials available that are a safe alternative and work just as well as human bone tissue. These are often created from ceramics and then combined with growth factors to stimulate bonding. These alternative synthetic bone materials include:

        • Demineralized Bone Matrix/Demineralized Freeze-Dried Bone Allograft – DBM/DFDBA is processed allograft bone, containing collagen, proteins, and growth factors that are extracted from the allograft bone and can be injected through a syringe.
        • Graft Composites – These consist of other bone graft materials and growth factors to achieve the benefits of a variety of substances. Some combinations may include: collagen/ceramic composite (which closely resembles the composition of natural bone), DBM combined with bone marrow cells (which aid in the growth of new bone), or a collagen/ceramic/autograft composite.
        • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins – BMPs are proteins naturally produced in the body that promote and regulate bone formation and healing.

Synthetic materials also have the advantage of not requiring a second procedure to harvest bone, reducing risk and pain. Each bone grafting option has its own risks and benefits. Dr. Austin will determine which type of bone graft material is right for you.

Great staff, very friendly. They do whatever they can to make you feel comfortable. Excellent Oral Surgeon! I’d recommend Dr. Austin to anyone!!

– Wendy H.

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What Happens During a Bone Grafting Procedure?

To ensure every patient is comfortable at Dr. Austin’s Leland and Wilmington office during the bone grafting procedure, IV sedation is available to eliminate pain. Once the IV is administered, the patient will gently fall asleep so that they are unconscious during the entire process. Then, once Dr. Austin is finished, the patient will be woken up so they can begin their recovery.
To begin, Dr. Austin will make a small incision in the gums. Then, he will peel back the tissue to get to the jawbone underneath. Next, he will carefully place the bone graft in the designated area. The bone will naturally grow around this transplant. Finally, he closes the gums back up with an incision to allow the healing process to begin.

How Long Is the Recovery After Bone Grafting?

Recovery from bone grafting is not immediate, though patients should not expect extensive downtime. While they may experience slight soreness afterward, this can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication or ice therapy. This discomfort usually only lasts for a couple of days.

It usually takes about three to six months for Leland and Wilmington area patients to fully heal. While their mouth might feel fine to them, inside their jaw, the bone graft is slowly bonding to existing tissue. To speed up this process, patients can try eating a healthy diet, drinking lots of water, and avoiding smoking.

After the bone grafts have healed, patients will then be able to receive their dental implants, if that was the reason behind the procedure. Dr. Austin specializes in three of the leading implant brands on the market to ensure all Leland and Wilmington patients get exactly the look and durability they crave. These include the Astra Tech Dentsply, Nobel Biocare, and BioHorizons. To decide which option might be ideal, patients will have one-on-one consultations with both the implant coordinator and Dr. Austin.

Choose Dr. Austin for Bone Grafting in Leland and Wilmington

If you’re in need of bone grafting and aren’t sure where to go, consider Dr. Austin. He takes his time with each and every patient to understand your needs and wants. Rather than rely on a standard plan of care, he’ll devise a completely personalized treatment plan based on your goals. This ensures you’ll receive the optimal results from your bone grafting procedure.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation by calling us at (910) 769-1605.

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