What is a Ridge Preservation/Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation procedure is a common dental practice often performed following a tooth extraction. It helps recreate or maintain the natural contours of the gums and jawbones. These contours may have been lost due to a tooth extraction, traumatic event 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. This empty socket can heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue, or it may collapse. Untreated extraction sockets have been shown to lose 30% of their width of bone within the first month following an extraction of a tooth. Sometimes when a tooth is lost insufficient bone exists to complete an adequate repair. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate and collapse over time..
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 Ridge Preservation/Augmentation Accomplished?
One very successful ridge augmentation method places bone grafting material into the tooth extraction socket immediately following the removal of the tooth. Immediate ridge augmentations have two real advantages. First, they avoid the need for a second procedure with surgical entry later. Immediate attention also provides the maximum protection against loss or collapse of the ridge anatomy. The first 30 days following extraction of a tooth can be extremely critical for preserving or enhancing jawbone support. A thin membrane or barrier is laid over the graft to contain it within the socket. These membranes also isolate the bone from the surrounding gum tissue that can invade a healing extraction socket. Invasion of soft gum tissue into an open extraction socket can delay or prevent healing of the socket. Most of these membranes are very thin allowing your body to dissolve it away overtime, avoiding the need for removal. The gum tissue is then placed over the protective bone/membrane and secured with sutures. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
If a tooth was previously extracted, Dr. Adornato may find it necessary to expand or recapture the lost width and height of your jawbone. He can do this by opening the site to place bone grafting materials, contained under a dissolvable membrane, where the bone collapse has occurred. This process is also successful but it may not recapture all of the lost bone as immediate preservation does.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Adornato’s office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request sedative medication in addition.