What is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction. This procedure helps recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss from a tooth extraction, or for another reason.
The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed the bone surrounding the socket breaks and is unable to heal on its own. 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.
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How is the Procedure Accomplished?
Missing teeth for an extended period of time results in major/minor bone loss. Implants require a minimum of bone for placement. Grafting would be performed by creating an incision and pulling back the gum tissue to expose the ridge. The ridge would be reshaped and grafting placed for additional growth. This added bone grafting would facilitate in implant placement.
If a patient has been wearing dentures the dentures don’t stimulate the bone the same way teeth and implants do. Following the “use it or loss it” concept, the bone will deteriorate over time. This can result in dentures no longer fitting, slipping or a complete inability to stay in the mouth. Bone grafting would be added to the ridge for improved denture placement or for implant placement that would lock into the denture. Implants stimulate bone the same way as teeth resulting in bone preservation.
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