The alveolar ridges are two narrow ridges of tissue that run just below your gums and give support to your upper and lower teeth. They also help to define the curvature and proportions of your smile. If these bones have begun to recede, particularly after tooth loss or a dental extraction, your dentist may suggest a ridge augmentation. Similar to a traditional bone graft, this treatment involves rebuilding the alveolar ridges using one of several types of tissue. The procedure can improve the fit of a removable denture and protect your long-term oral health.
What are the benefits of ridge augmentation?
Ridge augmentation has several noteworthy benefits, including:
Reduced chance of additional bone and tooth loss: Bone recession takes place rapidly after tooth loss or extraction. By acting proactively, your dentist can prevent recession and preserve the structure of your jawbone.
Improved fit for dental restorations: Traditional full and partial dentures fit around the alveolar ridge, and they are made specifically to match the curvature of the bone. If your ridge is uneven or compromised, your denture may become insecure or uncomfortable. The restoration could even slip out of place. Ridge augmentation can build a strong base for your prosthetic.
Better stability for dental implants: Dental implants need strong, healthy jaw tissue for stability. If your alveolar ridge has started to recede, dental implants can weaken or fail altogether. Ridge augmentation can restore jawbone tissue for a success implants treatment.
Improved appearance: Your alveolar ridges form a framework for your smile. After ridge augmentation, you could enjoy a more even grin and a more youthful look.
If you are preparing for an extraction or you are missing teeth, ridge augmentation surgery may be a great way to safeguard your lifelong oral health, your smile, and your self-confidence.
What is ridge augmentation procedure like?
Ridge augmentation is always performed using local anesthetic. During the procedure, your practitioner can clean the tooth socket and place the chosen grafting material. Small titanium screws will anchor the new tissue in place, stabilizing the graft until it has fused with the alveolar ridge. The incision will then be closed using sutures.
There are multiple options when it comes to grafting material. Your doctor may use your own tissue (known as an autograft), which is typically harvested in a separate surgery from the hard palate or underside of your chin. The advantage of this method is that it eliminates the risk for allergic reaction. Alternatively, you may choose donor tissue (allograft) or animal tissue (xenograft). These methods do not require a second procedure, but they do pose a higher risk for complications. Your doctor may also use biocompatible synthetic material, which is especially helpful if you do not have sufficient tissue elsewhere in your mouth.
It is becoming increasingly common for dentists to perform guided bone regeneration (GBR) in conjunction with ridge augmentation. This technique involves placing a growth membrane over the tooth socket or grafting site. This material will stimulate healing, encourage new bone growth, and help the graft to integrate with your jaw. It will also help to hold the healing blood clot in place, preventing a painful dry socket.
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