After a tooth is extracted, the jawbone where the tooth was will begin to resorb, or recede, over time. The height and width of the socket where the tooth was will begin to shrink and may form an indentation in the gums or jawbone. Ridge augmentation is performed to recreate the natural contour of the gums or jawbone. While the procedure is not usually medically necessary, it may be necessary if pursuing dental implants or for aesthetic purposes.
There are two forms of Ridge Augmentations: soft tissue and hard tissue. Your doctor will determine which type is best for your unique case. Occassionally, both forms of surgery are performed at once.
Soft tissue ridge augmentations are usually performed to increase the esthetics and cleansibility of the area. Before the procedure begins, you will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Incisions are made to expose the site and the soft tissue graft is then placed. The soft tissue graft may be obtained from the patient’s palate or may be a soft tissue substitute. The graft is then secured in place using stitches.
Hard tissue ridge augmentation is performed to recreate adequate bone, usually before a dental implant is placed. As with soft tissue ridge augmentation, you will first be numbed with a local anesthetic and incisions will be made to expose the area receiving the graft. A bone graft is then placed. The bone graft may be obtained from the patient’s body or from a tissue bank. The bone graft is then placed, secured with titanium screws, and the area is then stitched closed.
Healing time varies by patient and the size of the area repaired but usually lasts no longer than 6 months.