What is a ridge augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction. This procedure helps recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss from a tooth extraction 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. However over time the bone will shrink or resorb leading to a decrease in the overall bone mass or volume. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate. If a dental implant is placed into an area of deficient bone there is an increased risk of implant failure.
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?
Ridge augmentation bone grafting is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the area of the deficient bone. This material acts as a scaffold for the surrounding bone to build additional bone volume. Dr. Stopperich may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to facilitate new bone growth. Once the bone graft has healed, the alveolar ridge is ready for dental implant placement. A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Stopperich’s office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request sedative medication.