What is a Ridge Augmentation?

Ridge augmentation is a procedure performed either before or at the time of dental implant surgery, in order to create sufficient bone volume to support the dental implant and surrounding soft tissue. Bone loss is common following tooth extraction, trauma or for another reason. Ridge augmentation may not be necessary from oral health perspective but might be required if a dental implant is considered.

The alveolar bone of the part of the jawbone that surrounds and supports the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, the remaining socket will heal on its own, filling with bone. The ridge dimension, however, will be reduced and might not be sufficient for the placement of a dental implant. The height and width of the ridge will continue to deteriorate over time because, without the tooth in place, there is no longer any stimulation for bone maintenance.

How is Ridge Augmentation Accomplished?

Ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the area of deficient bone. The bone graft is secured in place using a membrane and tacs.  Next, the gum tissue is released, in order to stretch it over the expanded bone volume secured with sutures. This step of stretching the gums over the bone graft often causes swelling and bruising. The swelling will peak 2-3 days after the surgery and then will start to subside. On and off ice-pack application will help reduce the amount of swelling. Pain management typically involves over- the-counter analgesics for the first few days.