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Ridge augmentation; the procedure and benefits

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 is unable to heal on its own. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate.

The Ridge Augmentation Procedure

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. Next, a membrane is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Dentists may choose to use a space-maintaining product 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 socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement

Ridge Augmentation Procedure Expectations

The ridge augmentation procedure will begin with administration of a local anesthetic. Once the area is properly numbed, your periodontist will make a small incision in your gum to allow access to the bone. Depending upon what type of ridge augmentation procedure you are having performed, your periodontist will either place soft gum tissue or hard bone tissue. Soft tissue ridge augmentations are generally done to address cosmetic concerns. For this type of ridge augmentation, a soft tissue graft will typically be taken from the roof of your mouth and then inserted into .the graft, after which the area will be sutured shut so the healing process can begin

Patients who need to have a dental implant placed will typically have a hard tissue graft. The grafting material can be human (your own or a donor, also known as allograft) animal (xenograft), or synthetic material (alloplast). Once the graft is properly position, the area will be stitched shut so the healing process can begin. As soon as the bone has gained sufficient height and width, the patient will be ready to have a dental implant placed.

What is Alveolar ridge Augmentation?

Alveolar Ridge Augmentation is a surgical procedure done to improve the shape and size of the alveolar ridge(s) in preperation to receive and retain a dental prosthesis. It may be localized, as in socket grafting or it may involve the entire ridge.

What Is A Localized Alveolar Ridge Augmentation?

Localized alveolar ridge augmentation, also referred to as socket grafting or grafting of a buccal wall defect, is a common dental surgery that may be performed following the extraction of a tooth to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss following, or as part of, a tooth extraction.

The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of the teeth. When a tooth is removed, it leaves behind an empty socket in this bone. Typically, this empty socket will heal on its own, filling in with bone and tissue. Sometimes the walls of the socket are thin and break during tooth removal, or were missing before the procedure. When the bony wall holding the tooth into the jaw on the side facing the cheek is missing, it's called a "buccal wall defect." These types of sockets typically do not heal to their previous height and width because they do not have intact, bony walls to guid bone regneration. Bone typically will continue to be lost at this site, because there is no tooth to retain the bone.

Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not critical to the patient's overall health, unless the patient wants to replace the original tooth with a dental implant or the lost tissue has caused an aesthetic problem. Dental implants require a certain amount of bone to support the base of the implant. Patients who are considering a dental implant may want to consider a synthetic recombinant protein grafting option in the socket to maintain the alveolar ridge height and width and enable future implant placement. Placing this type of graft material into the tooth socket has been shown to promote bone growth, prevent bone resorption after tooth extraction and preserve the height and width of the alveolar ridge. One of the primary advantages of socket grafting is that it allows implant placement.

How Is It Done?

A ridge augmentation procedure is performed by placing graft material into the tooth socket. This may be done immediately after the tooth has been removed. The gum tissue is then advanced over the socket and sutured.

Once the socket area has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for a dental implant or other dental restoration. Dental implants are designed to serve as the foundation for artificial teeth (crowns) that look, feel and function like natural teeth. Dental implants typically are very small, screw-type posts placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the post, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Dental implants help preserve facial structure and also help prevent the bone deterioration that usually occurs when teeth are missing.

A ridge preservation procedure typically is performed in the dental office under local anesthesia, however, some patients also may request sedative medication, as well.

What about the entire ridge?

The entire bony ridge may be augmented by basically the same technique used over a more extensive area. This may be accomplished with either a particulate material or a block graft material. It may be autogenous (patient's own bone) or it may be synthetic and or cadaver bone.

What is Ridge Splitting?

The alveolar ridge bone is a special type of bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. When a tooth has been removed, this bone begins to deteriorate.  It can also lose density due to natural breakdown from age, or from disease.

Ridge expansion is performed when the jaw is not wide enough or high enough to support implants. The bony ridge of the jaw is increased by splitting the bone with surgical instruments. Bone graft material is inserted and allowed to heal before placing the implant. In some cases, the implant is placed when the ridge is split.

The Benefits of Ridge Augmentation Treatment

Ridge augmentation is the treatment procedure that replaces missing gum or bone tissue that is lost when a tooth has been extracted or fell out. The actual procedure helps to recreate a natural bone and gum ridge so that a replacement tooth can be structurally supported as well as have an improved aesthetic appearance. Otherwise, replacing teeth in areas where there is a lack of proper bone density, the area of tooth replacement will not look normal or cosmetically pleasing.

By recontouring the bone support, tooth replacement options will have increased stability for long-term function and health. The procedure is useful for patients undergoing dental implant therapy, dental bridges or other tooth replacement treatments. By using advanced technology, your dentist can create a naturally contoured area of bone that reflects what you would naturally see when you smile. Poor bone contours can create the appearance of dark, irregular shapes around the teeth. You may have noticed an area like this before in someone with a dental bridge, but not enough healthy bone support in the area in the middle of the bridge where the false tooth is placed. Augmentation of the bone would improve the appearance of this area so that it appeared more as a natural tooth, and prevent wide spaces between the bridge and gums where food may lodge.

Most ridge augmentation treatment is performed by a periodontist, which is a dentist who has received advanced training in the treatment of periodontal disease and caring for supporting structures around the teeth. The treatment itself is a minor surgical procedure that is customized based on your individual needs and future tooth replacement plans. Your dentist will keep you comfortable during the procedure, as well as ensure that your recovery is as pleasant as possible.

Ridge Augmentation Aftercare

The recovery process following ridge augmentation surgery can vary widely from patient to patient, depending upon the severity of your case. Itcan take as short as a few weeks or as long as one year for the bone to finish growing and healing. Because there is such variance in the recovery process, it is important to discuss what your unique recovery plan will be with your periodontist prior to having this procedure performed.

Immediately following your ridge augmentation, you will need to stick to a soft food diet, slowly reintroducing harder foods as the healing progresses. It is also important to avoid smoking or using straws for the first week or two following the procedure, as doing so will create unnecessary pressure.

Once you have completed the recovery process, it will not be necessary to follow special aftercare instructions, although it is important to be aware of the reason this procedure was needed in the first place. Continue practicing good daily oral hygiene practices. Brush and floss twice daily, and schedule regular visits to your periodontist to ensure that your teeth receive regular professional cleanings, which will reduce your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis. If you follow these best practices, you will enjoy a bright and healthy smile for many years to come.

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