What is a ridge augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common oral surgery procedure often performed following a tooth extraction. This procedure helps recreate the natural contour of the gums and bone that may have been lost due to a tooth extraction, or for another reason, such as an injury.
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. In most cases, when a tooth is removed the bone surrounding the socket will shrink in height and width as part of the natural process of healing.. The previous height and width of the socket can continue to diminish over time.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not always medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement or for esthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.
How is a ridge augmentation accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket. It is best and most easily 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. Wagner usually places a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to facilitate new bone and soft tissue growth. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Wagner’s office under the comfort of anesthesia. We will discuss anesthesia options when you come in for evaluation.