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 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. Studies have shown that the average patient loses between 3 to 5 mm bone within the first 3 months after tooth extraction. While this may not sound like much, 5 mm is one-half the length of the usual dental implant. With this bone loss, we have to place shorter implants with longer crowns which create higher stresses.
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 the procedure Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Commonly the graft is covered with either a resorbable or non-resorbable membrane. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the membrane and socket and secured with sutures. Our Doctors may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to facilitate new bone growth. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.