What is a ridge augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common oral surgery procedure when bone volume has been lost several years after a tooth extraction. This procedure helps recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw to aid the placement of dental implants. Implants require a very specific amount of bone to allow the placement. Often ridge augmentation can be avoided with a socket preservation graft done at the time of extraction, and seeing your oral surgeon at the recommended time of 3-4 months after extraction for implant placement, as opposed to waiting several years.
The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. Following an extraction, this ridge of bone decreases in volume without the function of holding a tooth root. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not always medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.
How is a ridge augmentation accomplished?
On milder cases, ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material at the site with a collagen barrier. The gums are released and secured with sutures. This will take 3-4 months to heal before implant placement. You should avoid hard foods in this area for at least two months to allow healing. This procedure is called guided bone regeneration.
On more involved defects, ridge augmentation may require your oral surgeon to take a piece of bone from your jaw to shape and secure to the defect. Using your own bone allows increased vitality to the graft, and helps achieve a larger volume that may be needed for your implant reconstruction. IV sedation can be provided for comfort during this procedure. It is important to follow the instructions after surgery to allow the best healing. This procedure is called block graft reconstruction.
Our doctors will then consult you to plan the next step in the placement of dental implants to get your closer to chewing more naturally.
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