What is a ridge augmentation?A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure used to rebuild vertical and horizontal bone loss. This procedure helps recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss from a tooth extraction, missing teeth for a long time, infection, growth deficiencies, or trauma.
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 the bone surrounding the socket collapses and loses horizontal volume. This continues to shrink over time.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not always medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant. An alternative to ridge augmentation is to place a smaller implant. This is an option in some scenarios; however, the crown of the tooth may also need to be smaller to avoid mechanical failure of the implant.