Man smiling after getting hard tissue ridge augmentation at his Tucson periodontist.The loss of teeth can lead to a cascade of effects, including forcing changes to your diet, your speech and even to your facial shape. These unforeseen issues can severely impact your self-confidence and your overall quality of life. One reason for these problems is the changes to your jaw bone. The atrophy that occurs to your jaw following the loss of a tooth can be dramatic leading to many of the above complications. Working with our staff at Southern Arizona Periodontics, we can help stop and reverse these changes through the rebuilding or augmenting of the bone ridge that supports your teeth.

Your bone, all your bone, requires constant movement to stay healthy and robust. When a tooth is lost, that part of the bone no longer receives the movement it needs to stay healthy; this is true even if you have a dental bridge or denture placed. The only way to restore this needed movement is through the placement of a dental implant. Before getting dental implants, many patients require having their bone bulked up through a bone graft or bone augmentation.

Having robust, healthy bone in the jaw is required to sink a dental implant. If bone loss has occurred, a hard tissue ridge augmentation can be performed to increase your jaw mass, once the bone has increased, we can then discuss prosthetic options that can be customized to work in conjunction with dental implants.

What is hard tissue ridge augmentation?

Hard tissue ridge augmentation can also be referred to as a bone graft procedure. It is a simple in-office surgical treatment designed to increase bone mass. The ridge of your jaw is where all the teeth are located; we need to grow healthy bone following the loss of single or multiple teeth.

The process for hard tissue ridge augmentation begins with ensuring your comfort with the appropriate anesthesia. Depending on your needs, we offer a few different sedation options including conscious sedation. Once the patient is comfortable, we will begin the procedure by making an incision in the gumline; this will allow us to gain access to the jaw bone below.

With the incision site open, we then place bone material. The bone material can come from a variety of sources, most often we use bone material taken directly from the patient. We also have donor bone material and synthetic bone material. The tiny fragments of bone material are placed into the graft site; the area is then closed with sutures. The soft tissue will heal within a couple of days, but the growth of new bone can take several months.

While healing, you will want to be aware of symptoms of infection and avoid smoking tobacco which decreases the rate of healing. We will check the status of bone growth after several months, once adequate bone is available, we can then discuss the next step toward restoring your missing teeth. Dental implants that are sunk into healthy bone can be used as an anchor to support a dental bridge, a partial denture or even a full denture.