What Is Ridge Augmentation?
Ridge augmentation is a dental procedure that is typically done after a tooth extraction. This procedure recreates the natural contour of the gums or jaw that was lost during the extraction. The bone that surrounds the roots of the teeth is called the alveolar ridge of the jaw. When a tooth is extracted, there is an empty socket left where the tooth originally was. This socket typically will heal on its own, and fill with tissue or bone.
If the socket breaks during tooth extraction this area will not be able to heal on its own. When this happens rebuilding the alveolar ridge may be necessary if the patient requires a dental implant. Dental implants require a sturdy base and bone structure for proper support. A ridge augmentation procedure helps to rebuild the area, and place the necessary support for the dental implant.
When Are the Benefits of a Ridge Augmentation?
A Ridge augmentation procedure helps to recreate bone and tissue to support dental implants, and to make the gum and jaw area aesthetically pleasing. This procedure helps to provide long term function, and is typically done on patients that have decided to move forward with dental implants, dental bridges, or other tooth replacement options. Ridge augmentation can help to naturally contour the area so that your smile looks natural.
How Does Ridge Augmentation Work?
A ridge augmentation procedure is done directly after the tooth is extracted. This procedure places bone grafting material in the tooth socket to rebuild the area, and provide the necessary support for tooth replacement. Doing this procedure directly after tooth extraction helps to avoid the need for a second procedure.
Once the area is built up, gum tissue is placed over the socket, and sutures are used to secure the area. A space maintaining product can be used over the area to help restore both the height and width of the space that was created after tooth extraction. The area must heal before the patient can return to prepare for their dental implant. Typically, local anesthesia is used to help keep patients comfortable during the procedure.
What Can I Expect During the Recovery Process?
Depending on how severe the area was after tooth extraction, will determine how long your healing period will be. Typically, the healing period after a ridge augmentation procedure takes a few weeks. This gives the area time for the bone to grow and heal. After your procedure our doctors will discuss an after-care plan, and give you recommendations on how to care for your mouth at home during recovery.
We do recommend patients follow a soft food diet, and as the area heals, they can reintroduce harder foods back into their diet. Patients should avoid using straws or smoking as this can create pressure on the area, and impact the healing process. Patients should continue to practice good oral hygiene habits with brushing and flossing, and make sure to be gentle around the surgery area. Once the area is completely healed, we will require the patient to return to the office to discuss tooth replacement.