Augmentation: the action or process of making or becoming greater in size or amount.
Regeneration: the replacement or restoration of damaged or missing cells, tissues, organs, to normal form and function.
Augmentation and regeneration are very different terms, but we all tend to use them interchangeably.
To augment something is simply to make it larger. To regenerate something is to grow healthy vital tissue equal to the original. We can easily distinguish between the two terms. Bone can be augmented with metal, plastic, or any graft material that does not resorb. To regenerate bone, materials must be biocompatible and fully resorbable, resulting in bone equal to what was lost.
Regeneration is always also augmentation, but augmentation is seldom regeneration.
A finer point of bone regeneration is that simple resorption of the material is not adequate for true regeneration. For example, the bone graft material must have a biologic compound to stimulate osteoblasts to produce more bone than is found in the normal repair process. Bone repair without grafting is not equal to bone regeneration. A socket that is healed with no graft is not as healthy or as vital as normal bone, but we do know that this bone is adequate for implant support. For true regeneration to occur, you must have a biologically active process that stimulates the regenerative process, and only then can true regeneration occur.
It is now being recognized by a number of lecturers and professors that there is an increase in implant complication and an increase in implant failure rate in augmented sites. Dr. Bach Le of USC has produced a paper and a video lecture showing implant failure due to bone graft failure in sites augmented with xenografts, allografts, and non-resorbable synthetics. All of the studies and all of the case presentations of implant complication and failure due to bone graft failure is being reported in augmented (not regenerated) bone.
Most of our professors and lecturers have never used science-based resorbable biocompatible materials that produce normal bone. As a result, they believe that the problem is with the grafting process and not the material used in grafting.
Histologically, it is evident as to why augmented sites fail and regenerated sites do not.