What is Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure done to repair a bony defect. The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. A bony defect is the loss of the natural contour of this bone. There can be a defect in the height of bone, the width of bone, or both. This can happen following a dental extraction, after a trauma has healed, or after a lesion is removed. Doing a socket preservation at the time of extraction may prevent a bony defect from forming. Once it has formed, a ridge augmentation may be done to recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw so that either an implant can be placed or a more functional and more aesthetic restoration can be made.
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 Procedure Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the defect. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Dr. Brunner may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to help restore the height and width of the space created by the tooth and bone loss, and into which new bone should grow. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Brunner’s office under local anesthesia or with IV anesthesia.