Ridge augmentation is a typical dental surgery that is done to give the gums back their natural shape. Sometimes when a tooth is knocked out or otherwise removed, the jawbone will deteriorate and diminish, which often leads to a permanent indentation in the gums. This is because the size of the socket was previously sustained by the tooth, and it starts to get smaller after the tooth is gone. It is not absolutely essential to have this procedure done, but if you are going to have another procedure done, such as receiving dental implants, it could be necessary to have ridge augmentation performed prior to the other procedure. Depending on the amount of deterioration in the bone, an implant might not even be an option. Dr. Toms will be able to counsel with you to let you know if the procedure will be effective for your situation.
Two Types Of Ridge Augmentation Procedures
The two types of ridge augmentation procedures are a soft tissue graft and a hard tissue graft and can typically be done at the same time. It can take up to six months to heal from this procedure, but typically not any longer. The following is a small breakdown of each procedure:
• Soft Tissue Grafts – These grafts are done to enhance the way that your mouth looks. It will make it easier for you to keep the area clean, and the aesthetics will be improved tremendously. To begin the procedure, the area around the site will get numbed and then an incision will be made so that the site is exposed. Often times the soft tissue graft itself will be collected from the palate, or the roof of the mouth, but it is also sometimes collected from another soft tissue substitute. After the graft is placed, the spot is stitched up.
• Hard Tissue Grafts – Before you can receive a dental implant, the bone will need to be properly contoured. Just as with the soft tissue graft, the area will be numbed and an incision made to expose the deteriorated bone. Sometimes the bone graft will be taken from another spot in the mouth. If a bone graft is unable to be taken from another place in the mouth, then a cadaver bone will be used. After the bone graft is in place, it will be screwed in with titanium screws, and then stitched up.