Introduction

After a tooth is lost, the jawbone begins to shrink, with the most rapid shrinkage occurring in the first year following extraction.  Up to 60% of the original width and 40% of the height of the bone can be lost during this period.  This loss of bone often leaves a condition of poor quality and quantity of bone, which is inadequate for placement of dental implants, bridges or dentures. If the teeth have already been extracted, ridge augmentation may be needed to regrow bone where dental implants are desired.

Ridge augmentation procedures can be used to grow bone where needed. 

Procedure

Ridge augmentation is performed to recreate adequate bone dimension that has been lost.  To keep our patient comfortable, local anesthesia is used to numb the area completely. After the incision is made, the bone graft material (sterile cadaver or bovine bone particles) is placed to build up the ridge.  A membrane and/or titanium mesh may be utilized to contain the bone graft to promote strong bone formation.  Depending on defect size, an average bone healing and maturation time of 6-12 months is allowed before dental restorations (dental implants, bridge and dentures) can be placed.  However, in some cases, the implant can be placed at the same appointment as the ridge augmentation.

Post-Operative Care

After the ridge augmentation procedure, antibiotics and analgesic medication are prescribed and post-operative care instructions are reviewed both verbally and given to you in writing.  Following the post-operative care instructions is critical for success and for a positive experience. A temporary removable or fixed bridge may be fabricated by your general dentist to be utilized during your recovery phase.  After an adequate healing period, your bone graft will be strong enough to support a dental restoration such as dental implants, bridges or dentures.