Ridge augmentation is the treatment procedure that replaces missing gum or bone tissue that is lost when a tooth has been extracted or has fallen out. The actual procedure helps recreate a natural bone and gum ridge so that a replacement tooth can be structurally supported and 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. Dental implants need strong, healthy jaw tissue for stability. If your alveolar ridge has started to recede, dental implants can weaken or fail altogether. San Tan Oral Surgery can restore jawbone tissue for success implants treatment.
Why Is Ridge Augmentation Important?
Your alveolar ridge is an extension of your jawbone that forms the base into which the roots of natural teeth are fixed. When a tooth falls out, is extracted, or is so badly damaged that you avoid putting pressure on it, the bone material underlying that tooth begins to be “resorbed” into your body. That means your alveolar ridge (in that area) will shrink and no longer be of sufficient height and width to support a dental implant.
You may even get your dental implants done “express” in a single sitting with a healthy ridge. But if you need a bone graft, it may take months and two separate surgeries to complete your implants.
As soon as a tooth is lost, the underlying bone begins to deteriorate. Within 12 months, 25% or so of the bone tissue will be resorbed. Within 36 months, 40% to 60% will likely be gone. That is why it is best to get implants soon after extraction if possible. But if the bone was already thin around your tooth before it was extracted, you may still need ridge augmentation. Often, the “buccal wall” (facing outward toward the cheek) is weak and must be augmented. Not only is ridge augmentation important to make way for dental implants, but it also helps to restore the natural contours of your facial structure that may have been affected by alveolar bone loss.
Benefits of Ridge Augmentation
Augmentation of the bone would improve this area’s appearance so that it appears more like a natural tooth and to prevent wide spaces between the bridge and gums where food may lodge. 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. Using advanced technology, our professionals can create a naturally contoured bone area, reflecting what you would naturally see when you smile.
Ridge augmentation reduces the chance of additional bone and tooth loss, and bone recession occurs rapidly after tooth loss or extraction. By acting proactively, our professionals can prevent recession and preserve the structure of your jawbone.
How Is Ridge Augmentation Surgery Performed?
Ridge preservation or augmentation surgery is accomplished by filling in the empty socket left by a missing tooth with bone-graft material. The socket itself would fill in and heal on its own and lose bone height/width. The surgery prevents that deterioration. The bone-graft material can be from a cadaver donor (an “allograft”), from animal sources (a “xenograft”), or synthetically manufactured (an alloplast.”)
The gum tissue will then be placed over the grafted-in bone and sutured into place. A “barrier membrane” may also create a space where the grafted bone mass will grow, ensuring it re-attains its former height or width.
Barrier membranes are for vertical growth, but some are horizontally placed. If horizontal, it is commonly on the buccal side (facing the cheeks) since that bone must be at least 2 mm thick before an implant can be received.
The healing process may take several months or even up to a year. The time required varies from person to person, and certain factors like smoking or having diabetes can slow down the rate at which bone heals and regenerates.
If you are preparing for the extraction or missing teeth, ridge augmentation surgery may be a great way to safeguard your lifelong oral health, smile, and self-confidence. For more information, and to find out how you can benefit from ridge augmentation, call San Tan Oral Surgery at (480) 604-2592 today.