If you have to have a tooth extracted, it is usually because it was damaged by an accident or an injury. Your tooth might also have to be removed because of tooth decay or gum disease. While tooth extraction was not seen as a big deal in the past, we see it differently now. We used to remove a tooth to save the rest from disease or decay. Now we know that we need to save teeth because of the damage an empty tooth socket can cause. If you leave an empty tooth socket, it can cause your jawbone to change and your teeth to start shifting.
We don’t want to leave an empty socket where your tooth used to be. Instead of an empty socket, we have restorative practices to help keep your jaw healthy and your remaining teeth healthy. We call one of the procedures we used to keep your jaw healthy "ridge augmentation." Let Center for Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry tell you about ridge augmentation.
What Is Ridge Augmentation?
Ridge augmentation came about because we did research for years in the field with patients who experienced bone loss in their jaws due to the loss of teeth. When we have to extract a tooth, we want to replace the tooth as quickly as possible with an implant. Depending on your jaw, however, we may not be able to do an implant right away.
A piece of bone surrounds your tooth roots, which is called an alveolar ridge. The ridge helps to anchor your teeth to the jawbone, and it surrounds the roots of your teeth. If you have had to have a tooth removed in the past, you may have a socket that is filled with bone and gum tissue. The younger you are, the more likely it is to happen. Also, depending on how you lost your tooth, you may not have enough bone to support an implant, because of an accident or an injury.
If your alveolar ridge has degraded, we won’t be able to complete an implant procedure. First, we have to rebuild the height or the width of the alveolar ridge. Once the bone is restored, we would then be able to replace the missing tooth with an implant.
How Is Ridge Augmentation Done?
A simple ridge augmentation means we place a bone graft in the socket that was left empty by your missing tooth. If we do a bone graft, we place the bone in the socket, cover it with your gum tissue, and suture the area. There are times you will need additional work done to your alveolar ridge. If we need to enlarge your alveolar ridge, we need to do a ridge expansion. We would drill a hole in the jawbone and add additional material to build up your jawbone. Then we allow the area to heal for up to six months before we place an implant.
If you have questions about ridge augmentation, Center for Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry can help. Give us a call at 508-441-4154.