Bone Regeneration or Bone Healing is the process on which the body facilitates the repair of the bone structure damaged, either fractured, lost or (in the case of tooth extraction) absent.
Throughout this process, the body focuses large amounts of different type of cells in the area which, working together, repairs and/or forms new bone structure. To give a little more detail to it, some of the main important cells are: Platelets, Osteocytes, Osteoblasts, Osteoclasts, Endothelial Cells, etc.
Now that we have a better idea of what Bone Regeneration is, we will now refer to different aids that are used to improve this regeneration, increasing the quality and reducing regeneration timings in the dental field:
Bone Grafting: When we want to aid the bone regeneration, specially in cases where there is lack of bone structure, we use this procedure to increase the bone structure in the area. Through a surgical procedure (most of the cases minimum invasive) we place bone graft in the required areas and let it sit for a few months (can variate depending the area, extension, additional aiding treatments) and let the body create new bone structure in the desired area.
Bone graft can be based on different materials:
- Autografts: also known as autogenous bone grafts, refers to the usage of bone obtained from the same patient that is receiving the graft. This bone can be taken or harvested from different areas of the body (normally non-essential areas), in the dental field is commonly taken from the mandibular symphysis (chin area) or mandibular ramus.
- Allografts: this type of bone graft also comes from human bone structure, but not from the same patient that will be receiving it. In the dental field, the most common allograft is harvested from a human cadavers that have agreed to donate their bone for living people that may need it. This bone is processed and sterilized in order to obtain a perfectly safe bone graft.
- Xenografts: this are based on the harvest of bone structure of a different species other than human. Such as bovine or porcine bone are an example of this, which are freeze-dried or demineralized and deproteinized in order to be maintained in an optimum state for further use. Another type of allograft are coralline xenografts, which proceed from madrepore and millepore corals.
- Synthetic Grafts: also known as artificial bone, come from ceramic bases such as calcium phosphates, bioglass and calcium sulphate, all of this bioactive in different degrees depending on the physiological enviroment that they are used on. This type of grafts are used in very perticular cases only, and have a higher porcentage or rejection or non-bone formation due to it's artificial components.
And, in order to aid bone grafting, there is also:
- Growth Factors: deriving from Human Growth Factors or Morphogens (such as collagen), are components found in our bodies that increases the growth of different kinds of soft and hard tissue, depending the area where they are working. "Platelet Therapy" is commonly used in cosmetic surgical procedures due to it's ability to increase the quality of the regenerated damaged tissue, decreasing healing times, reducing post-operatory signs and symptoms, as well as providing a better acceptance from the body to a unknown entity (such as bone graft or dental implants).