Optimal Timing of Secondary Alveolar Bone Grafting: A Literature Review

Artur Fahradyan, Michaela Tsuha, Erik M. Wolfswinkel, Kerry-Ann Mitchell, Jeffrey A. Hammoudeh, William Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: Secondary alveolar bone grafting (SABG) during mixed dentition is the standard of care for alveolar clefts. However, early SABG at 4 to 7 years of age before the eruption of lateral incisors versus late SABG at 8 to 12 years of age before the eruption of maxillary permanent canines is still debated. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature to evaluate the outcomes of early SABG in residual bone volume or degree of bone resorption, maxillary canine movement or impaction rate, complications, and esthetic outcomes and to compare outcomes of early versus late SABG. Materials and Methods: A comprehensive search of the PubMed database was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. Keywords for alveolar cleft repair and inclusion criteria were used to screen articles for final review. Results: The initial search yielded 6,278 articles, of which 4 retrospective and 4 prospective studies were chosen for final review. Of these, 7 studies compared outcome variables between early and late SABG and 1 looked at bone formation of patients who underwent only early SABG. For outcome variables, 3 studies assessed bone volume with radiographic evaluation, 2 estimated maxillary permanent canine impaction rate, 1 evaluated surgical complications, operative time, and length of hospital stay, and 1 looked at anterior incisor crown length. Overall, 6 studies concluded that early SABG provides a better outcome than late SABG and 2 found comparable results across the aforementioned variables. Conclusions: This review suggests that the existing data support the concept of early SABG; however, the data are not sufficient for a definitive conclusion. A well-planned prospective study is needed to further investigate the rationale for early SABG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-849
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this