What is a Ridge Augmentation aka Ridge Preservation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may be missing due to bone loss as a result of a tooth extraction, or dental disease.
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 tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding the socket can break and be lost. Loss of a tooth will also naturally allow the alveolar ridge to atrophy or melt away. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not 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 the Oral Surgery Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone grafting material in the tooth socket. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure. A resorbable or non resorbable membrane may be used to further encourage bone regeneration and to prevent soft tissue in growth. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.