Benefits and Risks of Using Allograft Bone in Dentistry


When your patient loses a tooth or requires tooth extraction, you want to make sure you have a backup plan that restores their oral health as safely and effectively as possible. Patients rely on your expertise and experienced discretion to provide them with solutions that protect their oral health and enable them to stay confident in their smiles. In many cases, allograft bone is the ideal solution for what your patients need. 

Learn about the benefits and risks of using allograft bone in dentistry!

What Is Allograft Bone?

Allograft bone is a biologic scaffold that promotes wound healing and cellular repair. This bone grafting method uses donated bone tissue harvested from a cadaver and stored in a certified bone bank. Allograft differs from autograft bone methods. Instead of cadavers, autograft methods harvest bone from the individual receiving the grafting procedure. It also contrasts with xenograft bone methods, which use bovine, equine or porcine sources. In contrast, allograft methods harvest bone tissue from human cadavers

The three types of allograft bone are:

  1. Fresh or fresh-frozen bone: Fresh or fresh-frozen allograft bone tissue preserves the bone’s mechanical strength but increases the risk of infection. 
  2. Freeze-dried bone allograft (FDBA): FDBA tissue reduces the risk of infection and decreases the bone tissue’s mechanical strength. 
  3. Demineralized freeze-dried bone allograft (DFDBA): DFDBA tissue is harvested from one donor, crushed and demineralized with acid to preserve osteoinductive properties and eliminate HIV-related risks.

Allograft bone transplants have several applications. Doctors and dentists use allograft tissue to treat:

  • Bones that don’t heal correctly after a fracture, including a delayed union, malunion or nonunion.
  • Bone diseases, such as cancer, osteonecrosis or osteoporosis.
  • Congenital abnormalities, including uneven limbs.
  • Jaw reinforcements to perform a tooth implant.
  • Joint replacement surgery to support an artificial joint.
  • Severe fractures involving shattered bones. 
  • Spinal fusion.


Here are some benefits of choosing allograft bone tissue in dentistry settings instead of other sources for jaw reinforcement surgery: 

Practical for the Clinician 

Allograft methods simplify the grafting process, as you don't need to acquire the bone tissue from the patient before beginning the surgery. They also present fewer risks of disease transmission than xenograft tissues, which cannot be adequately screened for animal viruses. Having allograft bone tissue provides practical benefits for clinicians — saving time and minimizing risks.

Readily Available

When you use allograft bone instead of autograft bone for a grafting procedure, the bone tissue is readily available from a certified bone bank. Many patients lack enough bone tissue to perform an autograft procedure. Allograft bone tissue is an ideal alternative in these circumstances.

Well-Documented Success

Allograft bone transplants have a dependable track record of success. They have a dental implant survival rate of 90.9% at six months to one year after surgery and an 82.8% success rate at three to five years after the procedure. The FDA keeps close regulation on allograft bone transplantation treatments it has approved, ensuring the continued safety and success of this treatment.

May Heal Small Defects Itself

Allograft bone is osteoconductive, which means that bone cells can grow, attach or migrate onto the surface of allograft tissue. DFDBA tissue also has limited osteoinductive properties, allowing for the possibility of osteogenesis — bone formation — to occur. Although these properties are more present in autograft bone, allograft tissue can promote the healing of minor bone defects in the treatment area after implantation.

Portions of the Graft May Turn Into Patient Bone

In addition to healing minor defects, the osteoconductive properties of allograft bone may cause portions of the graft to merge with the patient’s existing bone tissue. This merging will bolster the strength of the implant and increase its longevity. 

The Patient Doesn’t Need Surgery to Harvest Bone 

An autograft procedure requires two surgery sites — surgery to harvest the bone and surgery to transplant the bone tissue into the desired location. Consequently, patients have to recover from two surgical incisions with an autograft procedure instead of only one. In this way, patients benefit from fewer surgical incisions with allograft bone transplants. 


Even with those benefits, allograft bone transplants for jaw reinforcement are not without risks. Here are some risks associated with allograft tissue in dentistry.

Minimal Risk for Disease Transmission

Although allograft transplants in dentistry have an excellent safety profile, a small risk of disease transmission exists. HIV is the primary concern for disease transmission with allograft transplantation. The risk is minimal, though, as studies estimate the probability of contracting HIV with FDBA transplantation to be 1 in 8 million. With DFDBA, the risk lowers to 1 in 2.8 billion. So while a chance is present for disease transmission with allograft transmission, it is rare. 

Does Not Stimulate the Body’s Cells to Form Bone

With the exception of DFDBA tissue, allograft bone lacks osteoinductive properties. Whereas autograft bone tissue contains osteoconductive, osteoinductive and osteogenesis properties, allograft tissue is primarily osteoconductive. Allograft tissue can support existing bone, but it does not create new bone in the treatment area. 

Portions of the Graft May Remain in Your Body for Years to Come

Many studies have shown that necrotic portions of allograft bone tissue can remain in the patient’s body for one year or more after the transplantation procedure occurs. Despite the healing that allograft tissue promotes, the patient’s existing bone tissue does not replace the graft entirely.

Limited Ability to Heal Large Defects Itself

Since allograft tissue has fewer osteoinductive and osteogenesis capabilities than autograft tissue, it is limited in its ability to heal more significant defects. 

Importance of Selecting a Sterile Product

To ensure patient safety, it is essential to select a sterile allograft product. Each allograft tissue manufacturer has its own processing and sterilization method. The differences in these methods can impact sterilization quality and the overall performance of the graft. Inferior sterilization increases the risk of disease transmission to the patient and may lessen the product’s effectiveness. Therefore, it's crucial to research each manufacturer’s methods and certifications to ensure sufficient tissue sterilization and optimal clinical performance. 


Order Allograft Bone Today With HansGBR

Allograft bone is a highly convenient source of bone tissue for grafting procedures, and HansGBR provides high-quality, FDA-approved materials at a reasonable price. Set up an account today and receive a 10% off discount code on your first order. HansGBR is here to ensure your patients receive the safest and highest quality of restorative dental care. Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about our allograft bone products!