What is Ridge Preservation?
A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of a tooth extraction, or for another reason.
The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, some of the front wall or side wall of the socket can become thin, or come out with the tooth. When this occurs, it is more likely that the socket height and width will decrease during the healing of the socket. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate if not corrected.
Preserving the original height and width of the alveolar ridge may be required for dental implant placement, or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure, and ridge preservation can help prevent the loss of the necessary bone to accommodate the implant.
How is the Ridge Preservation Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket. It is done immediately after the tooth is removed to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. Drs. Randolph and Jackson may choose to use a space-maintaining product, or a membrane, over the top of the graft. This helps to preserve the height and width of the space into which new bone should grow. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.
A ridge preservation procedure is typically performed in our office under local anesthesia. Patients may also request sedative medication in addition.