What is a Ridge Augmentation?
Ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure performed to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of some event, such as a tooth extraction.
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 soft tissue, but the nature of this healing normally reduces the previous height and width of the tooth socket to a significant degree.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge 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. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Next, a covering, or membrane, is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. The membrane may have reinforcing struts to assist in maintaining the volume of bone defect into which new bone will grow. This process will help restore more normal height and width of the jaw bone bone. Once the socket or bone defect has healed, the augmented alveolar ridge is ready for dental implant placement.