Getting a tooth extracted is something most of us know about. But you may not be aware that having a tooth pulled can lead to bone loss in your jaw. You may need to have a bone graft to preserve the integrity of your jawbone. The procedure is referred to as ridge augmentation, and that is a term you may not have heard. Dr. Blake Perkins, who practices dentistry with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington, explains ridge augmentation procedures in this report.
Dr. Perkins explains that a ridge augmentation procedure has several steps. First, the dentist makes a small incision in the gum where the tooth was extracted so that the underlying bone is visible. At that point, the dentist cleans off any soft tissue on the bone so there is a clean area to work with. Then, the dentist creates some small holes in the bone so that new blood vessels can develop and enter the bone graft.
Once the area to receive the graft has been properly prepared, the graft material will be put into place and shaped in accordance with the treatment plan for the jaw. Then, Dr. Perkins says, a resorbable collagen membrane is placed over the graft material to keep the gum from infiltrating into the graft material until it is fully integrated into the bone. When everything has been completed, the gum is put back into place and sutured closed to complete the procedure.
As to pain involved in the procedure, Dr. Perkins points out that ridge augmentation is no more painful than any other dental surgical procedure. The top of the affected area will heal in seven to ten days. The underlying bone takes more time to heal. The pain can be managed by taking either a prescription pain medication or an over the counter product. There are some risks involved, says Dr. Perkins, the biggest of which is that the actual graft does not take and fails to integrate into the bone. This is a problem that usually only occurs if the area has been really disturbed.
A patient may require a ridge augmentation for a variety of reasons. The procedure might be needed for someone who has had multiple teeth extracted in an area of the mouth—perhaps the person has had all the teeth removed for the placement of a denture. The bone in the jaw may shrink over time, Dr. Perkins explains, and it may be time for a ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation is just one of many procedures offered by Dr. Perkins and the New Image Cosmetic and Family Dentistry practice.
Dr. Blake Perkins is with New Image Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington. He is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Dentistry. Dr. Perkins spent several years as an Air Force dentist and trained with specialists from all aspects of dentistry. He still serves his country through the Air National Guard. The Health & Wellness Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.