Here at Lovett Dental Katy, our family dentistry offers a variety of specialized services, including providing dental implants. Dental implants are designed to either fully replace a missing tooth or missing teeth or provide a better support base for more permanent dentures. Dental implants are an incredibly important and useful orthodontal tool, but our team may have first to do ridge augmentation surgery before we can provide them. If you’ve heard those words before, then you might have some questions. The following is a look into what ridge augmentation is and why you might need to request ridge augmentation services.

What Is Ridge Augmentation?doctor talks to young woman about her ridge augmentation

Ridge augmentation, sometimes also called ridge preservation, is a type of bone graft surgery that is done to either bolster your alveolar ridge (this is the jaw ridge located at the top of your mouth, a small protrusion that is located just behind the upper front teeth that should be readily felt with one’s tongue) or prevent it from deteriorating.

This alveolar ridge is the base upon which your natural teeth’s roots are fixed, and just like a tree’s roots, the roots of the teeth help give the alveolar ridge its form. Whenever a tooth degrades and/or falls out, the roots and bony material beneath it become reabsorbed, and the alveolar ridge shrinks. When it shrinks too far, it becomes unable to support the dental implant. And that shrinking can happen extraordinarily fast. Within as little as three years, the bone tissue beneath a tooth may become over 50% reabsorbed and gone. This is why so many dentists and orthodontists will insist that dental implants should be committed to as soon as possible following a tooth loss incident. Other oral issues like gum diseases can also lead to an expedited need for dental implants.

But if you were unable to get a dental implant shortly after or if that alveolar ridge has become thinned out for any other reason, then you will be suggested to have ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation is critical in restoring those necessary contours to safely and securely install dental implants or even make something like dentures more comfortable and form-fitting.

How Ridge Augmentation Surgery Is Performed

Ridge augmentation services and surgery are performed by filling in those emptied root sockets and ridge areas left by damaged or missing teeth with specialty bone-graft material. That bone graft material will then help either reverse any happening deteriorating or create in-full the necessary ridge. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case and your dental goals, your dentist may recommend the use of bone-graft materials that are synthetically manufactured, produced from animal sources, or taken from a cadaver donor.

Once the bone-graft has been installed at your alveolar ridge, the dental surgeon will then place and suture in the gum tissue. This gum tissue will help ensure the graft remains in place and encourage an expedited healing process. However, it is important that depending upon your age, health, and certain lifestyle factors (i.e., smoking), the healing process may take anywhere from a few months to a full year and that you will not be able to undergo the dental implant until the alveolar ridge has fully healed.

Contact Lovett Dental Katy to Learn More

To learn more about ridge augmentation services or to get fitted for dental implants, give our Lovett Dental Katy team a call today at 832.662.2852 or contact us online and let us get you set up with a dental exam as soon as possible. We can also help get you on the right dental plan to prevent gum disease from requiring services like ridge augmentation.