What is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of 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 it 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 medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement, or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure, and ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.
How is the Surgery Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing a bone graft material on the existing jawbone. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Drs. Beanland, Vellis, A. Kang or T. Kang may choose to use a space-maintaining product, such as bone screws or a tenting material over the top of the graft to help restore the height and width of the space created by the tooth and bone loss, and into which new bone should grow. Once the graft has healed (4-6 months), the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Beanland, Dr. Vellis, Dr. A. Kang or Dr. T. Kang's office light or general anesthesia. Some patients may tolerate the procedure well with just a local or numbing type anesthetic.