Bone grafting is a procedure used to replace or augment areas of the jaw where there is inadequate bone due to atrophy, disease or trauma. It's often used during the placement of dental implants to “shore up” the implant site prior to placement of the actual implant, and it can also be used to repair damage to the jaw following trauma or disease.
The bone in your jaw was designed to hold and support your teeth, and the stimulation of the teeth and their roots helps promote the continual replacement of bone cells. Once a tooth is lost, the jaw bone can begin to atrophy, and over time, a significant amount of bone can be lost. When tooth loss is due to infection or disease, bone may also be lost. Just like a natural tooth, a dental implant relies on adequate jaw bone to support the implant and help it withstand the forces of chewing and biting. Without a graft, the implant will not be strong enough and may become damaged or even fall out. Grafts fuse with your natural bone to provide adequate support. They may be placed prior to implant surgery or at the same time.
In some cases, a small graft may be taken from your mouth and used to supplement the bone in your jaw but sometimes, graft material from a tissue bank is used. Only the highest-quality grafts from the most reputable tissue banks are used for the best outcomes possible. In either case, the graft will eventually become fused to your natural bone to form a strong support for your dental implant.