When you have to have a tooth removed, it is usually due to accident, injury, or periodontal disease. In the past, tooth removal was not seen as a problem. Dentists preferred to extract or remove teeth to remove diseased teeth from the jaw. However, research has shown that this is not a good strategy, as it often leads to bone loss, which damages the jaw. Over time, this bone loss can result in the shifting or changing of the jawline.
Instead of leaving empty sockets where teeth used to be, we now have restorative procedures that we can use to keep your jaw healthy. One of those practices is called ridge augmentation. What is ridge augmentation, and how can it help you retain your jawbone?
Djawdan Center for Implant and Restorative Dentistry has information for you about ridge augmentation.
What Is Ridge Augmentation?
Dentists and periodontists came up with the ridge augmentation procedure after years of studying people with tooth and bone loss. When a tooth has to be extracted, we hope to be able to immediately begin to replace the empty socket with an implant. However, there are times when it is not possible.
Usually, the roots of teeth are surrounded by the alveolar ridge. It is the part of the bone that is around the roots of teeth and helps to anchor the teeth. Often, an early tooth removal because of accident, injury, or disease leaves an empty socket. The socket then fills with bone and tissue. However, as a person ages, this is less likely. There are also times when it is impossible for the jawbone to replace the bone and tissue, either because the area is so diseased, or because of injury or accident.
When that happens, the usual dental implant procedures won't work. We would need to perform a procedure to rebuild either the height of the alveolar ridge or the width of the ridge. When this bone is rebuilt, an implant can then be placed where the missing tooth was.
How Is Ridge Augmentation Done?
If at all possible, we would want to begin the ridge augmentation procedure by immediately placing a bone graft in the empty socket. The gum tissue is placed over the bone graft, and the area is stitched up. If we are lucky, that is all the rebuilding we have to do. However, there are times when we have to do additional work. There are times when we also have to perform a ridge expansion. This happens when the jawbone is not high enough or wide enough to support an implant. When this happens, we may have to work to build up the bone by making a hole in the jawbone to add additional material to build up the jawbone. In both cases, the area is allowed to heal before an implant is placed. The healing time can take between three and six months.
Do you have questions about ridge augmentation? If so, why not give us a call? At Djawdan Center for Implant and Restorative Dentistry, we would love to talk to you about ridge augmentation or other dental procedures. Call us at (443) 569-8764, and let's get started on your new smile as soon as possible.