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.
How is the procedure Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by first reflecting the gums away from the area of inadequate bone. The defect is then filled in using bone graft material, and it is covered by a protective barrier that will protect the graft during healing. Sometimes, small screws may be used to help secure the bone graft material. These screws are removed at the time of implant placement. The gums are then sutured back into place, and the healing begins. Healing time depends on the extent of the graft and the materials used.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Hairr’s office under intravenous sedation.