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. Unlike socket preservation, this procedure is not done at the time of the extraction. A ridge augmentation is performed to augment an area in the mouth if there is a n insufficient amount of bone in which to place an implant in health. Ridge augmentation procedures can also be performed to enhance the esthetic outcome of a bridge restoration where there is a concavity in the bone where the tooth was lost.
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 a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.
How is the Oral Surgery Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the deficient area in the jaw, and then covering this with a membrane to exclude the fast growing skin cells from the slower growing bone cells. Dr. Ridgway 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 area has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.