Ridge augmentation is a bone grafting procedure used to preserve and augment the alveolar ridge which is the part of the jaw where the tooth sockets are located. With our expertise at Rho Family Dentistry, you can find out whether this procedure is one you need to consider to protect the health of your jawbone.
Preserving the tooth sockets is essential in maintaining the integrity of the alveolar ridge. It is paramount for sustaining healthy teeth, as well as supporting dental prosthetics. A missing tooth can cause bone loss of up to 50% around the socket. This changes the shape and size of the ridge, making it more difficult to place dental implants. However, the alveolar ridge also provides support for the soft tissues of the face, particularly around the mouth. The degeneration of the bone along the ridge will also affect the shape of the face, typically creating a more aged appearance.
Ridge augmentation is the name given to a number of bone grafting procedures carried out on the alveolar ridge in preparation for dental prosthetics, such as dental implants. The procedure may be performed on individual tooth sockets or along the complete ridge.
Thus, a hard tissue ridge augmentation is carried out to restore the bone for a dental implant, and a soft tissue ridge augmentation may be performed to deliver a cosmetic improvement before the final restoration. However, to preserve the tooth socket immediately after a tooth extraction a socket graft is performed, and to increase the size of the jaw, a ridge splitting procedure can be carried out—a combination of grafting material and splitting the bone.
How is Ridge Augmentation Performed?
The ridge augmentation procedure is carried out under a local anesthetic, or conscious sedation. To expose any defects in the jawbone, an incision is made in the gum and carefully lifted away from the jaw. Bone grafting material is applied to restore the natural contour of the jaw. This may be overlaid with a membrane to support the graft during the healing period.
Soft tissue ridge augmentations are used to restore lost gum tissue. Gum tissue is readapted over a soft tissue graft and stitched in place to heal. In some circumstances, a combination of hard and soft ridge augmentation is carried out to provide the best functional and cosmetic result.
What is the Healing Process After Ridge Augmentation?
The grafts will take between three months to a year to heal completely. Throughout this time, new cells in the grafting material bonds to the bone, increasing the size of the bone as the new cells continue to grow.
After surgery, you may experience some discomfort around the mouth, so you will be advised to take painkillers as necessary. You will need to modify your diet, refraining from eating solids for a day or two, and consuming soft foods that you do not need to chew.
Reduce swelling by applying regular ice packs during the first 48 hours. Bruising is likely to occur but that and the swelling should start to subside after a few days, although it may take several weeks for all the signs of swelling to disappear.
Ridge augmentation is a surgical procedure, and you should take things slowly. Do not engage in physical exercise, anything that can burst your stitches or move the grafts, including bending or lifting.
Discover more about ridge augmentation at Rho Family Dentistry. Call our office at (916) 562-2755.