After tooth loss, bone resorption is irreversible, leaving the area without adequate bone volume for successful implant treatment. Bone grafting is the only solution to reverse dental bone loss and is a well-accepted procedure required in one in every four dental implants. Research and development in materials, design and fabrication technologies have expanded over the years to achieve successful and long-lasting dental implants for tooth substitution. This review will critically present the various dental bone graft and substitute materials that have been used to achieve a successful dental implant. The article also reviews the properties of dental bone grafts and various dental bone substitutes that have been studied or are currently available commercially. The various classifications of bone grafts and substitutes, including natural and synthetic materials, are critically presented, and available commercial products in each category are discussed. Different bone substitute materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, or their combinations, and their chemical, physical, and biocompatibility properties are explored. Limitations of the available materials are presented, and areas which require further research and development are highlighted. Tissue engineering hybrid constructions with enhanced bone regeneration ability, such as cell-based or growth factor-based bone substitutes, are discussed as an emerging area of development.
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