Ridge augmentation is a type of bone graft done on the alveolar ridge bone-- a special type of bone (under the gums) that surrounds and supports the teeth. When a tooth is extracted or falls out, it leaves an empty socket. This empty socket sits on the alveolar ridge bone, which begins to deteriorate.
The empty socket will naturally heal over, but the body reabsorbs the alveolar ridge bone, which gets smaller in height and width. This can become a problem when people want a dental implant in the empty socket. The dental implant normally screws into the alveolar ridge bone, but if there’s not enough bone there, placing the implant is going to be a problem.
Ridge augmentation helps restore this underlying bone and prevents deterioration. Ridge augmentation can also rebuild the original height and width of the alveolar ridge for dental implants. Dental implants will then have a stable place to grow into the jawbone.
Before ridge augmentation, you will be given a local painkiller to ensure you are pain free during the procedure. You can also request sedation to keep you relaxed and calm.
During ridge augmentation, an oral surgeon or dentist fills the empty socket with bone graft material, which is from a cadaver donor or is synthetically made. A special membrane may be placed over the bone graft to create a sheltered area during healing. Finally, the gum tissue is pulled over the socket and secured with sutures. At this point, the bone graft is safely covered by the gum.
Sometimes a combination ridge augmentation will be done. This includes both bone and gum grafts to restore lost gum and jawbone. A gum graft (tissue from the roof of the mouth or synthetic) is placed over the bone graft site. Ridge augmentation is often done right after a tooth is extracted to avoid a second surgery. Healing may take several months, depending on the person’s health.
People -- who are missing a tooth and want a dental implant to fill it -- should have ridge augmentation as soon as possible because the alveolar ridge bone is likely deteriorating.
Ridge augmentation can restore the natural beauty of your gums and jaw. This procedure can give you back your healthy mouth and smile.
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