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 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 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 a ridge augmentation accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in and around the alveolar defect. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the new ridge and secured with sutures. Dr. Jay Harlan or Dr. James Harlan may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to facilitate new bone growth. Once the ridge has healed with adequate bone–usually in about 6 months–dental implants can be placed.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Drs. Jay Harlan and James Harlan’s office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request general anesthesia.