When you lose your teeth, your entire life is affected. First, and most noticeably, is your smile. You may find that your confidence is shaken when you are missing teeth, and you try to hide your smile from those around you. Your ability to eat is affected. You cannot chew properly, which can also affect your digestion and your overall health. Your speech is also impaired. Your teeth control air flow and allow you to make certain sounds. Without them, people may have a difficult time understanding you. Your jawbone will begin to deteriorate, which alters the shape of your jaw, causing several more oral health issues. At Implant and Periodontal Wellness Center of Arizona, we offer dental implants, which can help to solve these issues. If you have already suffered significant bone loss, we can first perform a ridge augmentation.
Dental implants involve a surgical procedure that places small, titanium rods in your jawbone. These rods fuse with your bone, becoming a strong, stable support for one or more false teeth. Implants have become one the top tooth replacement option available because they offer numerous benefits over traditional dentures. The main benefit of implants is that they prevent the bone loss that is associated with missing teeth, standing in for the roots of your natural teeth to keep the bone strong and healthy. However, to be considered for implant surgery, you must first have sufficient bone mass in your jaw. This is where the ridge augmentation comes in.
What Is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a surgical procedure that uses bone graft material to fill in the weakened portions of your jaw, allowing it to become strong again. The material used for the graft can be from your body, from a donor, or even another species (the bone is processed first to minimize the risk of rejection). We may choose instead to use a synthetic material. We will decide which is best during your initial consultation.
How Is it Performed?
Before we start the procedure, we first give you a local anesthetic, along with a sedative, if you need help relaxing. We then make small incisions in your gum tissue to expose the weakened areas of bone. The chosen bone grafting material is placed. We may place a membrane over the bone to keep it separated from the gum tissue while it heals, a procedure known as guided tissue bone regeneration. We stitch your gums closed, and you can start to heal. After several months, when the graft is completely healed, we can begin the process for dental implants.
Healing From a Ridge Augmentation
Healing from a ridge augmentation can take anywhere from 4 to 12 months. During this time, rest, care of the surgical sites, and proper oral care are essential and can expedite the healing process. Avoiding strenuous activities for a while is a must, at least for a week or so. We will send you home with a set of aftercare instructions that detail how to care for your gums, how to prevent infection and how to deal with common postsurgical issues, such as pain and swelling. In a majority of ridge augmentations, so long as you take care of yourself and the surgical sites, you will experience no issues healing.
If you are interested in dental implants but have already lost bone mass, call Implant and Periodontal Wellness Center of Arizona at (480) 504-0506 to learn more about how a ridge augmentation can help.