How Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Bone loss is most common in patients who experience tooth loss, periodontal disease, or have extreme damage to their teeth so that they avoid putting pressure on them. This affects the alveolar ridge, a bone that connects your teeth to your jawline, and can begin the process of reabsorption. Reabsorption causes the bone to melt away, as your body no longer sees a need to have the bone in your body. This process can have major complications if you want to get a dental implant later. To fix this problem, our team at Bryan Hill, DDS may recommend a ridge augmentation, a type of bone graft surgery used to prevent your alveolar ridge from deteriorating and help restore it completely.
What Is the Importance of a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is performed after you have already lost a tooth. It is commonly referred to as a ridge preservation surgery if it is being done immediately following a tooth extraction. This procedure helps to restore the bone that holds your teeth in place or to keep it from deteriorating in the first place. When the bone begins to reabsorb, it can cause several detriments to your oral health. Most patients begin experiencing their teeth shifting and misaligning due to the structure of their face changing. It can also create small gaps between the teeth, further complicating dental implant surgery.
After tooth loss, the bone deteriorates an average of 20-25% for most patients within the first 12 months. After 36 months, your jaw will have reabsorbed as much as 40-60% of the bone. Eventually, the bone can completely deteriorate, leaving nothing behind of the original structure. Therefore, most of our patients are recommended for ridge preservation surgery immediately following a tooth extraction. This helps to prevent the bone from melting away too quickly before getting a dental implant placed.
Bone preservation is one benefit of dental implants over traditional dentures. The titanium dental implant will fuse with the bone, a process called osseointegration, which helps strengthen the bone and implant in your jaw. Dentures, on the other hand, do not provide any jaw or bone support.
How Is a Ridge Augmentation Procedure Performed?
A ridge augmentation surgery requires our experienced staff to place a bone graft in the area where your tooth was lost. This bone graft can come from your body, usually from your mouth, hip or tibia, a cadaver, an animal source such as a cow, or, in rare cases, a synthetically manufactured bone made in a lab. The type of graft we use will depend on your case and will be determined once we have fully examined your tooth loss or extraction treatment.
Your gum is opened in the area where your tooth is lost or extracted and the graft is placed. A barrier membrane may also be used if there is not enough space for the grafted bone to grow properly. This membrane gives the grafted bone an area to grow and attain its former height and width within your mouth. The bone graft must attain a certain thickness before your dental implant can be placed.
The healing process can take anywhere from four to 12 months to complete, depending on how much graft was needed and the time it takes your mouth to fully recover. Our team will have you come in for regular dental visits after the surgery to monitor your recovery. Only after the area has fully healed and your bone has grown enough, can we begin performing a dental implant procedure.
If you lost a tooth, suffered from periodontitis, or need a tooth extraction, our staff will work on finding the best treatment plan for you. If the alveolar ridge has already begun to deteriorate, you will need to undergo ridge augmentation to receive dental implants in the future for your missing teeth. Contact Bryan Hill, DDS at (509) 505-6303 to get your exam and treatment started.