Ridge Augmentation & Expansion
What is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of 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. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding the socket breaks, and it 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 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 Oral Surgery Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket or if the ridge has atrophied or left with a defect from prior infection and tooth loss. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure later. If the ridge is narrow and will not accomoate the implant, a special procedure is done to expand the ridge to accomodate the implant and needed graft material.
Next, a membrane is used to help protect the bone graft from gum tissue growing down into the bone as it heals. This membrane procedure is called Guided Tissue Regeneration which also helps to facilitate growth of attached gum tissue and is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Dr. Kachele may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to help restore the height and width of the space created by the tooth and bone loss, and into which new bone should grow. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
In cases where the ridge is too narrow to place an implant, a technique called a “Slit Ridge Technique”, is used to widen the ridge for implant placement and is used in conjunction with Bone Grafting material to produce a stronger jaw which now becomes better suited to accept the dental implant for supporting tooth/teeth replacement.
A ridge augmentation procedure sis typically performed in Dr. Kachele office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request sedative medication or Oral Conscious Sedation in addition for added comfort.