Dental implants are the ideal solution for patients with missing or decayed teeth. Before you can receive a dental implant, you must have a healthy amount bone in the jaw. After a tooth has fallen out or been extracted, some patients may not have enough bone to support an implant. Without stimulation, the bone will resorb into the bloodstream. Over time, it will deteriorate to the point where implantation is impossible. At Dental Implant Center at Walnut Creek, we believe every patient has the right to receive dental implants. With ridge augmentation, we can slow down the process of resorption and rebuild bone.
Alveolar Ridge Preservation
The alveolar ridge is the bone located in the upper and low jaw, which contains the sockets that hold your teeth in place. After a tooth is extracted, preserving this ridge will help provide a strong foundation for your dental implant. Alveolar ridge preservation can refer to a localized area, as well as the entire ridge.
Localized preservation is also known as socket grafting. Socket grafting is a common procedure performed after an extraction to help recreate the natural contour of your gums, and restore any deterioration. During the procedure, Dr. Keith will place graft material into the tooth socket. The material can be grafted from another area of your body, a donor subject, or a synthetic material made in a laboratory. In some cases, ridge preservation may occur immediately following an extraction. The gum tissue is positioned over the socket and sutured after the graft material is in place. After the socket has properly healed, the area can be prepared for a dental implant.
If the entire ridge needs to be preserved, the same basic technique is applied to a larger area.
Rebuilding the height and width of the alveolar ridge is not critical to your overall health. However, it is important if you want to receive dental implants and maintain a more youthful facial structure.
We may also need to perform a ridge expansion. A ridge expansion is used when your jaw is not wide enough to support dental implants. During a ridge expansion, the bone is divided, and graft material is placed in the area to foster new growth. In certain situations, an implant can be placed right after a ridge expansion. In most cases, the situation requires four months to a year to ensure the ridge is strong enough to support a dental implant.
After Ridge Augmentation
The amount of time it takes for you to heal depends on the extent of the procedure and type of augmentation. After ridge augmentation, Dr. Keith will give you specific oral care instructions to follow while you wait for the new bone to grow. We recommend avoiding certain foods that may put unnecessary pressure on the graft site. Antibacterial mouthwash can be an effective way to clean the area without causing any damage. We may also prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to prevent infection and alleviate pain.
Dr. Keith can help determine if dental implants are right for you. If you are interested in dental implants and would like a consultation, call (925) 266-3550!