Is Tooth Grinding the Future of Dental Implants?

Apr 13, 2016, by Dr. Becky Coats

One essential element of many dental implant procedures is the placing of a bone graft. A bone graft is used when you don’t have enough of your own bone to support your dental implants.

But when it comes to getting material for your bone graft, we might encounter problems. First, you might want to use your own bone for the graft, but that requires a second surgical site for bone to be taken from a donor region, such as your pelvis or the back of your jaw. And you may not like the other sources for bone graft material. These include cadaver material or bovine bone. Even though they’re safe, inexpensive, and effective, some people just aren’t comfortable with these options.

Fortunately, we may all soon have another source for bone graft material: your extracted teeth.


New Teeth from Old

The process of turning your old teeth into bone graft material has been streamlined through the use of simple appliances like BonMaker. The result is a quite straightforward approach.

First, of course, your tooth has to be extracted. Once the tooth is extracted, foreign materials like metal amalgam or other fillings are removed from the tooth.

Then the tooth is placed into the tooth grinder, which breaks it down into small, uniform particles. These particles are then transferred to the processor. The processor sterilizes the raw material and, with the addition of three inexpensive reagents, it’s made ready to serve as bone graft.

The entire process takes less than half an hour, and it yields a bone graft material that’s made from your own tissue, making it inherently biocompatible and capable of filling in your jawbone with a minimum of retained material. The bone graft material can even be stored for years, in case you don’t need all of it right now and want to save some for a future procedure, such as repair of the surgical site if gum disease attacks your implant.

Does It Work?

So here’s the big question: is this process safe and effective? In the eyes of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the technology is still unproven, so it hasn’t been approved for sale in the US.

As a relatively new process, not a lot of research has been performed on it. What has been performed, though, seems promising. There’s at least one long-term study showing that it can give lasting results.

And some dentists who have had the opportunity to work with the process say that it works well, and they’ve shown off some impressive results.

At Grapevine Dental Care, we’re interested in the leading edge of dental implant technology, and we’ll keep our eye on this tech. Admittedly, it seems a little weird at first, but once you come to appreciate the benefits, it seems like a great approach.

If you are looking for a Grapevine dentist practicing some of the most advanced techniques in implant dentistry, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care.