A beautiful smile is not only just about having straight and even teeth; your gums also play a major role in not only keeping your smile attractive but also keeping it healthy. Ridge deficiency can occur for a variety of reasons, leading to deep divots or depressions in your gum tissue. It can also lead to wide, unsightly spaces that occur up by the tooth roots, leading to an opening between the teeth. Regardless of the cause of the ridge depression, we here at Southern Arizona Periodontics have the knowledge and skill to treat this condition through a procedure known as soft tissue ridge augmentation.
What is Soft Tissue Ridge Augmentation and How Does It Help?
Your teeth play an extremely important role in your mouth. Of course, many people think of their teeth as more cosmetic than functional. It is not until those teeth start to face complications do people realize how vital the health of their teeth is to their overall wellbeing. When you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth may start to shift or drift into the opening. Your bite force may change, making it harder to chew and eat. Lastly – and many people are stunned to discover this – in the absence of a tooth, gum recession and bone loss can suddenly occur. The majority of the loss generally occurs within the first year after the tooth is lost, and it can recede between 40 to 60 percent in this time.
Ridge deficiency can be caused by many different factors. Some of the more common causes of this condition include severe infection (typically from advanced periodontal disease), tooth loss, trauma to the site, genetics, or dentures. Of course, multiple factors can lead to this deformity, but regardless of the cause of it, getting it addressed immediately is vital to improving your smile and your oral health.
We often perform soft tissue ridge augmentation to help a dental bridge appear more natural and attractive. The soft tissue ridge augmentation usually occurs shortly after a temporary bridge is placed, which helps make the appearance of your smile more uniform and aesthetically pleasing. During this procedure, we will carefully surgically graft donor tissue (usually from another location within your mouth, such as your soft palate) to the site. We will then attach it to the area of deficiency, then suture (stitch) it to the site to help encourage it to heal.
Following Soft Tissue Ridge Augmentation
After your soft tissue ridge augmentation, please avoid all strenuous activity (including exercise) for at least 72 hours following the procedure. If you experience any discomfort afterward, then you may take over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce swelling and encourage healing. You may also gently apply a cold compress to help relieve swelling and discomfort. You may brush your teeth as usual, but take extreme caution around the surgical site to avoid irritating it. Abstain from flossing the surgical site for up to three weeks. Avoid hard or crunchy foods up to five days after your procedure. Do not use a drinking straw, tobacco products, or alcohol in the 48 hours after your procedure.
If you would like to learn more about soft tissue ridge augmentation, or you are ready to schedule an appointment at our office here at Southern Arizona Periodontics, please give us a call today at 520-322-9300!