Extracting a tooth or experiencing bone loss can cause changes in structure that make dental restorations very difficult later on. In order to preserve your bone structure and ensure that we can provide dental implants after recovery, Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS opts for a ridge augmentation procedure. This procedure combines bone grafting with guided tissue regeneration in order to preserve the natural jawbone structure.
Graft and Membrane Types
There are four different kinds of bone grafts we can use for this surgery. These include autografts, allografts, xenografts, and alloplasts. Autografts are the most successful in regenerating bone tissue as they are taken from another site in your body. However, this does mean that there will be two different surgical sites. Allografts provide another way to use human bone grafts, as they come from cadavers, but they do not promote new bone regeneration. Xenografts are animal-based bone grafts that have a high success rate, but they also do not promote new bone regeneration. Alloplasts are synthetic bone grafts which maintain the space, but do not absorb very well and do not stimulate bone regeneration.
There are two different types of membranes we can use; resorbable and non-resorbable. Resorbable membranes are most commonly used in ridge augmentation procedures. They are biodegradable and cost-effective. Non-resorbable membranes, such as titanium, are non-biodegradable. These require a second procedure, but they are also much stronger than resorbable membranes.
Ridge augmentation is a simple procedure, but there are multiple steps. This is usually done at the same time as your tooth extraction. So, you likely will not need to come in for a second surgery. To begin, we make an incision along the ridge crest in order to lift the gum away from it. We will cut the soft tissue to release it from the bone and then use a curette to scrape any remaining soft tissue off of the bone.
We then create several holes in the bone so that there is access for blood flow into the graft site, which improves regeneration. Screws are placed in the bone as well in order to maintain the space for the bone graft. The bone graft material will then be placed in the space. A membrane barrier is then placed which helps to maintain the structure and prevent soft tissues from growing into the space. We may also apply bone growth factors, which are synthetic proteins that help to stimulate bone growth. Once everything is in place, we can close the gum flap and incision.
Ridge augmentation will cause slight soreness for a few days following the procedure. We typically recommend over-the-counter pain medication as well as a prescription antibiotic for our patients. Complete healing can take up to a year, depending on the specific type of graft and your own immune system. You will have multiple follow-up appointments during the time to check your progress.
It is possible in some cases to provide the dental implant at the same time as the bone graft, though this does not happen often. We can discuss this in more detail at your consultation. Call Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS at (346) 250-2930 for more information on ridge augmentation.