Often, after a tooth is removed, the bone in the jaw will begin to deteriorate and recede. The height and width of the socket, which was supported by the tooth, will begin to shrink after the tooth is removed. Many patients will eventually develop an indentation in the gums where the tooth used to be as a result of tooth and bone loss. Ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure performed to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and bone that may have been lost due to a tooth extraction, trauma, or for another reason.
Restoring the natural contour of the gums is not usually medically necessary. It is often recommended when a large depression exists in the gum tissues, which can trap food and bacteria. Ridge augmentation is frequently performed for aesthetic reasons, as the ridge is a very important structure in the mouth.
Another purpose of ridge augmentation is to increase the amount of gum tissue in areas where there is a deficit for tooth replacement, so that the teeth appear to rise from the gum tissues. Dental implants also require bone to support their structure, and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.
How is the procedure performed?
After a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth, and gums, your periodontist will use the cone beam 3D imaging system to capture images that are vital to seeing the bone and important structures of the jaw.
An incision is usually made along the crest of the ridge of the jaw (top) so that the space can be created. Bone grafts are then placed in the deficient areas to rebuild the shape of the gums and jaw. The bone graft is typically covered with some type of membrane, and sometimes a titanium mesh will be used or even implants to maintain a tent space. It is important to keep the bone graft material stable and preserve a space for it to keep the soft tissue from invading the graft as it is replaced with new bone. The gum tissue is then replaced and sutured.
In some cases, the dental implants can be placed immediately during the ridge augmentation procedure, but in a number of cases, the ridge augmentation must heal for several months before the dental implants can be placed. This allows any bone grafts time to fuse to the existing bone in the mouth and grow new bone.
Donor bone can also be taken from human donors, animal donors, or synthetic materials. All forms are safely processed and approved by the FDA prior to use.
At Pinnacle Dental Group, we can help you restore your smile through implant dentistry. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a consultation, fill out the form below and someone from our team will be in touch.