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 (tooth socket) 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 empty tooth socket 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 a bone graft adjacent to the existing jaw bone. An incision is made in the gums and the alveolar ridge is exposed. The bone graft is placed on top of the bone. The graft is then covered by a membrane, collagen material, to protect the graft. The gums are closed over the membrane. Once the graft has healed, the jaw can be prepared for dental implant placement.