What is Ridge Augmentation?
Alveolar ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure sometimes performed following a tooth extraction to help maintain or recreate the natural ridge or contour of the gums and jawbone, which can deteriorate because of bone loss. The alveolar ridge is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. After a tooth is pulled, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Typically, the socket will heal on its own with time, filling with bone and tissue. But occasionally, the bone around the socket breaks and is unable to heal on its own, causing the socket to deteriorate.
Ridge augmentation and restoring the ridge to its previous height and width is not a necessary procedure. But may be recommended for patients wishing to have dental implants installed. Dental implants require sufficient bone to support their structure, and ridge augmentation can reinforce the jawbone to help achieve the strength required.
How is it Accomplished?
Ridge augmentation is typically performed in-office under local anesthesia. Sedation dentistry is available and offered according to your needs. The ridge augmentation procedure is achieved by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket. Ideally, this should be done immediately following tooth extraction to avoid complications at a later date. After the procedure is performed, gum tissue is secured around the tooth socket with sutures. Dr. Ramirez may incorporate a space-maintaining device over the top of the bone graft to ensure that the height and width of the socket are maintained while the new bone grows. After a full recovery, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant surgery.
What is a Sinus?
Your maxillary sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces located behind your cheeks above the upper teeth. The roots of your natural upper teeth extend into the maxillary sinuses, which means that when they are removed, the remaining bone is very thin and delicate. Because dental implants require a strong bone to secure to, a sinus augmentation procedure may be necessary before dental implants can be installed.
Sinus Augmentation Procedure
To complete the sinus augmentation procedure, Dr. Ramirez will create an incision on the molar or premolar region to reveal the patient's jawbone. Next, a small incision is made in the bone and membrane lining before the sinus is pushed upward. The space beneath this sinus area is then filled with bone graft material from your body or that of a cadaver. Synthetic bone graft materials can also be used. Once the graft has been implemented the incisions will be closed and your healing process will begin. Within several months, the graft will adhere to your jawbone, helping it to become strong enough to withstand dental implants.
If the bone is strong enough to withstand a dental implant, but our dentists feel it would be wise to incorporate a bone graft for precaution, sinus augmentation and dental implant procedures can be performed at the same time. In all other cases, the bone graft will need sufficient time to heal before dental implants be can installed.
Although the process may seem daunting, bone grafting procedures make it possible to attain strong, beautiful dental implants and to put the days of loose and slipping dentures behind you.