In at least 50 per cent of implantations, a preceding bone augmentation procedure is indicated. This material can be obtained from various types of foreign material (usually cattle bone, cadaver bone, or synthetic granulate). However, the human body frequently ends up rejecting these types of materials. In addition, a higher risk of infections or peri-implantitis needs to be taken into account. This of course is by no means beneficial for a successful implant treatment in the long term. The white blood cells are only capable of maintaining a self-protection mechanism as long as the implant is erect in a well supplied, vital bone. Furthermore, the aforementioned bone replacement materials are of purely osteoconductive nature, hence, this material merely functions as a structure into which the bone can (but must not) grow. Apart from that, many patients tend to have a critical stance towards the use of bone deriving from foreign materials.
Luckily, however, there is an alternative that happens to be (biologically) clean, obvious, and even stimulating: The use of the patient’s own bone. Generally speaking, the human body usually has a sufficient amount of bone material in the mouth area at its disposal. Around the jaw line, there even tends to be an oversupply of bone substance. This is the case because this is where the large masticatory muscle starts, meaning we can observe a functional load for the bone and therefore an oversupply of bone material. We can turn this matter of fact to account by, in a manner of speaking, “borrowing“ the patient’s own bone from this point. Here, the bone typically regenerates (almost) completely.
Vital bone cells display significantly better regeneration potential and ingrowth behavior than bone replacement materials. For this reason, rejection reactions almost never occur. Patients‘ own bones tend to constitute very potent, vital tissue commanding a so-called osteoinductive function; in other words, the bone induces the regeneration of the bone (osteoinduction) subsequent to the process of transplanting. In the long term, the patient’s own bone displays the best results by adopting its original state subsequent to the process of ingrowth; at this point, it can no longer be distinguished from any other bone. Indeed, bone constitutes the only tissue that completely adopts its original state subsequent to the process of healing. This is, for instance, different from soft tissue, which exhibits scar tissue after healing.
The patient’s own vital bone commands various growth factors (so-called BMPs) allowing them to form new vessels (osteogenesis) and to actively promote the process of bone regeneration in this area. We tend to refer to the patient’s own bone as the so-called “gold standard“:
- The endogenous bone material is perfectly suitable for stimulating bone growth
- Rejection reactions almost never occur
- The so-called autologous (patient’s own) bone formation can be planned well and displays predictable results
- The treatment can be planned more reliably
Biological Bone Augmentation (BBA) is particularly suitable in case of large-scale defects, e.g. when bone augmentation is needed for a narrow alveolar ridge or whenever the height of the alveolar ridge needs to be reconstructed. However, smaller-scale bone augmenting procedures are frequently sufficient for making use of the Biological Bone Augmentation method, which literally enables us to place our implant on a solid foundation.
As a patient, you should be aware of these options and on the lookout for treatment centers familiar with the Biological Bone Augmentation method.