What is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a procedure performed to rebuild or increase the height of the jaw bone and restore the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss from a tooth extraction, trauma 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.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not always 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 procedure Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material onto the area of the jawbone that is deficient. This bone may be bone harvested from a different area of your mouth, bone material from a bottle, or a combination of the two. The graft may be stabilized with plates, screws, mesh or membranes. The gum tissue from the surrounding area is then freed and advanced over this graft and secured with sutures. Drs. Allen or Pepper may choose to use a new material called bone morphogenic protein (BMP) along with the graft to better facilitate new bone growth. These grafts usually require several months to heal before the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement. During this time, various dental prostheses can be worn to temporarily replace any missing teeth.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Drs. Allen or Pepper’s office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request sedative medication.