The alveolar ridge is the piece of bone in the upper and lower jaws that holds the tooth sockets. When a tooth is removed, the bone around the tooth socket begins to resorb, causing bone loss which has consequences for the placement of dental restorations, as well as for the aesthetics of the face.
If you are interested in learning more about ridge augmentation, we are more than happy to answer any questions for you. For more information, or to set up an appointment with us, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Dental Implant Center at Walnut Creek at (925) 266-3550 today.
What is Ridge Augmentation?
Ridge augmentation restores the bone in the alveolar ridge. It is a procedure that can be performed along the whole ridge, or on just one tooth socket, depending on the extent of the bone loss.
For individuals who want dental implants, the procedure is essential to augment the bone so there is enough height and width - ridge expansion for dental implants to be supported. However, deterioration of the alveolar ridge is also a problem for other restorations, including full dentures which require sufficient gum and bone tissue to create the suction needed for them to be held in place.
Furthermore, degeneration of the bony ridge has a huge impact on soft facial tissues as it is the supportive structure underneath. Once it begins to degenerate, so too does the facial skin, forming lines, wrinkles, and ultimately sagging and creating the hollow look around the mouth we associate with missing teeth. There are several types of ridge augmentation procedures available to our patients, depending on their individual needs.
Soft Tissue Ridge Augmentation
Soft tissue augmentation is performed in order to improve esthetics in the gum line and restore a healthy, natural-looking appearance. A soft tissue graft is applied to the bony ridge to restore the gum line.
Hard Tissue Ridge Augmentation
Hard tissue ridge augmentations are used to augment the jawbone with bone grafting material before a dental implant procedure. It may be performed at the same time as a soft tissue augmentation.
Localized Ridge Augmentation
A localized ridge augmentation is a graft around an individual tooth socket to prevent it from deteriorating and compromising the height and width of the alveolar ridge. It is also known as a socket graft and is usually undertaken at the same time as a tooth extraction because the bone starts to deteriorate almost as soon as the tooth is removed.
The size of the alveolar bone can be increased in width and height by splitting the bone. This uses a bone graft to increase its size.
How Is the Ridge Augmentation Recovery Process?
Ridge augmentation is typically the most extensive surgical bone graft procedure and usually has the longest recovery time. However, it does vary depending on individual circumstances.
The recovery process is usually quite simple, and although you may experience minor pain or swelling, our team can provide you with measures to help ease your pain and hasten recovery. If you feel excessive pain or experience anything alarming after the procedure, be sure to contact our dental team so that a treatment plan can be developed to address any potential issues.
During the recovery period swelling and bruising are common, reaching their pinnacle on the third or fourth day after surgery. You can reduce the swelling by applying regular ice packs to the face during the first 48 hours.
You will need to adjust your diet until your mouth begins to heal and your jaw movement is unrestricted. Eating pureed or soft foods that do not require chewing will be most comfortable.
For comparison, a socket graft will take a few days to recover from; a bone graft a week, and a ridge augmentation between one to two weeks.
Who is a Candidate for Ridge Augmentation?
Many patients are surprised to learn that they may be a candidate for a ridge augmentation procedure. However, to be considered for ridge augmentation, there are a few considerations that must first be met.
For instance, the patient does need to be in good general health. It is also important that you are not a smoker, as it can delay healing and possibly lead to complications. Patients should not be immunocompromised or have any conditions which may prevent healing, as this is necessary to help ensure the success of both the ridge augmentation procedure and the dental implant procedure.
Ridge Augmentations Can Help Even if You're Not Getting Dental Implants
If your dental ridge has deteriorated too much in one place, your dentures will not sit right on top of it. The gap between the top of your gums and the dentures then becomes a place for food to get stuck and for bacteria to multiply. A ridge augmentation can be a useful procedure not only for dental implants, but for dentures and bridges since they sit on the ridge.
Why Get Ridge Augmentation?
In addition to improving support for implants, dentures, and bridges, ridge augmentation can also help with aesthetics. As your jawbone loses density, it can change how your face looks. You may find that your skin starts to sag because it is not fully supported by the bone. Your gum line may also look uneven due to the deterioration of the bone around the empty socket. Ridge augmentation will help restore the look of your face, including the contour of your jaw.
Ridge Expansion Walnut Creek
If you would like to know more about ridge augmentation at the Dental Implant Center at Walnut Creek call us at (925) 266-3550 to speak with our qualified team of dental health professionals to find out if a ridge augmentation procedure is a good choice for you. Call us today to schedule an appointment.