The alveolar ridge is the part of the jaw that holds the tooth sockets. Its structure is essential to maintain healthy teeth, as well as to support dental implants. Ridge augmentation is carried out by our experts at Aurora Dental Care and is one of several bone grafting techniques that we specialize in. It can be used to preserve and augment bone in the jaw to restore your smile. Sometimes ridge augmentation is needed before placing a single tooth or multiple tooth dental implant.
Tooth loss can damage the appearance and shape of the ridge, as bone loss of up to 50% may occur in the bone around a removed tooth. Once bone loss has occurred, placing implants without a bone to increase the size and shape of the ridge is challenging. Ridge augmentation seeks to improve this to ensure the successful placement of dental implants and other restorations.
What is Ridge Augmentation?
Ridge augmentation is a surgical bone graft procedure carried out on individual sockets. It is carried out as the complete ridge in preparation for dental prosthesis.
There are four steps of ridge augmentation, each one of them specifically for the patient’s needs. The soft tissue ridge augmentation helps to improve esthetics before a final restoration which then leads to the hard tissue ridge augmentation. The hard tissue augmentation is for bone restoration before the placement of a dental implant. After the tooth is extracted, the localized ridge augmentation (or socket graft) is carried out immediately to preserve bone. After preserving the bone, the final step is the ridge splitting, where the size of the jaw is increased with a combination of splitting the bone and the application of bone graft material.
How Is Ridge Augmentation Performed?
Ridge augmentation is carried out by placing grafting material into an empty tooth socket. It is best to do this as soon as the tooth has been removed, and the gum tissue can then be stitched over the socket to allow the graft to heal. This can take a minimum of four months and up to a year. During this time, the cells inside the new bone graft material bond themselves to the old bone which enlarges as the healthy cells grow.
After the socket area has healed from the ridge augmentation, the area can then be prepared to receive dental restorations, including dental implants. The grafted bone is strong enough to support a dental implant, which is placed inside a hole made in the grafted bone. In a process called osseointegration, the graft, bone, and implant combine to create a strong and stable foundation for an artificial tooth to be attached.
Ridge preservation is typically performed under a local anesthetic, but we may carry it out under conscious sedation. The recovery process varies from patient to patient, but you should be prepared for some swelling and bruising in the days following surgery, which begins to subside after about a week after surgery. You should take extra care of your oral health during this time. Do not smoke and do your best to maintain your oral hygiene regime to prevent gum disease and keep the mouth clean. Use ice packs on your face to help reduce the swelling and eat only purified food for a couple of days, gradually increasing solid food back into your diet as you begin to feel more comfortable.
If you are in need of a single tooth implant or a multiple tooth implant, but do not have a strong enough jawbone at this time to support it, find out more about ridge augmentation at Aurora Dental Care. We can perform this bone graft procedure to get you ready for dental implants. Call us at 907-376-8400.