In some cases, patients may need preliminary procedures before they undergo dental implant treatment. As an oral surgery facility, we here at Oral Surgery Specialists of Austin specialize in procedures that can help you qualify for dental implants. One of the most common preliminary procedures is known as a ridge augmentation.
What Is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a common and minor oral surgery that improves your jawbone following tooth loss or an extraction. The alveolar ridge is the part of the jaw that supports the roots of our teeth. In the absence of a tooth, this ridge may deteriorate over time.
When we lose a tooth, we lose the physical stimulation that keeps our alveolar ridge from atrophy. If tooth loss is left untreated for a significant amount of time, this bone deterioration can prevent a patient from qualifying for implant treatment. Ridge augmentation can help restore the bone and ensure the success of your implant.
In many cases, a ridge augmentation is performed immediately following tooth extraction. While the empty socket will heal on its own, a ridge augmentation will help prevent deterioration before we can schedule your implant surgery. We may also recommend a ridge augmentation for aesthetic reasons, preserving a more youthful facial structure.
Procedures for a Ridge Augmentation
There are several types of ridge augmentations, but the general steps for each procedure are the same. Generally speaking, a ridge augmentation is performed by placing graft material into the socket. This is sometimes referred to as socket preservation or localized ridge augmentation.
Bone graft material can be obtained from various sources. The first and most common option is an autograft, where the graft material is taken from another bone-dense area of your body. Graft material can also come from another human, an animal (usually a cow), or a laboratory (synthetics).
We typically need to make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone and place the graft material. Depending on the severity of your bone deterioration, we may need to apply the same technique to a more extensive area. We may also utilize platelet rich plasma to improve and expedite the healing process.
Teeth in the upper posterior (back) region are often the hardest to restore with implants. This part of the jaw usually has the least amount of bone. To place an implant in this area, we may recommend a sinus lift or subantral graft procedure. During this procedure, the sinus membrane is literally “lifted” up to make space for the graft material, and eventually new bone growth.
After Your Ridge Augmentation
The goal of a ridge augmentation is to foster the growth of healthy and dense bone. Dr. Flint will give you a detailed set of post-operative instructions following your procedure. It typically takes between six to nine months to completely heal following your ridge augmentation. Once we determine that your bone is hard and thick enough to support an implant, we will schedule your next procedure.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you do not initially qualify for dental implants, you may need a ridge augmentation. Call (512) 838-3118 to schedule your appointment today!