Tooth loss is tough, there is no two ways about it. Dealing with difficulties eating, and speaking, having to worry about whether people can see your missing teeth - it can all add up to a tough life. Many times, what people don’t realize is that there are biological and oral health ramifications of losing teeth on top of all the difficulties described above.
When you lose teeth, bone loss will eventually start to occur in your jaw. If this problem isn’t remedied in a timely manner it can become an issue that requires dental surgery known as ridge augmentation to fix. Ridge expansion is one form of ridge augmentation that is commonly used to bring your mouth back to a healthy state, usually in order to support tooth replacement options like dental implants.
What is ridge expansion?
The alveolar ridge is the part of your mouth where teeth sit. Your teeth sit in two rows at the top and bottom of your mouth that are elevated away from the rest of its palate. In the case of the upper alveolar ridge, this ridge extends down vertically, away from the nose, toward the ground. In the case of the lower alveolar ridge the opposite is true and the ridge extends upward away from the chin, toward the nose.
These ridges can suffer bone loss that cause them to shrink in either height, or width, or both. When they shrink in width a ridge expansion may be necessary.
Under what circumstances is it useful?
When a patient who has experienced significant bone loss in their jaw and wish to have dental implants placed, first we must assess whether the jaw can support the implants structurally. Implants need robust bone structure to be effective in replacing lost teeth. When the width of the alveolar ridge has shrunk to the point that the jaw can’t support dental implants, ridge expansion offers a useful way rejuvenate the bone structure.
How is it accomplished?
There are several ways that ridge expansion is accomplished. One of the more common ways is as follows. The first step is placing the patient under general anesthesia to ensure they will be comfortable during the procedure. We will then access the jaw bone by making some incisions in the gums. Once we have access to the jaw, a cut that runs along the ridgeline in the bone is made along with some cuts running perpendicular to allow for expansion.
Each treatment plan is different and can be accomplished by different methods. Sometimes dental implants are placed in the ridgelines along with bone grafts and allowed to heal. Sometimes just a bone graft is used and allowed to heal.
The Key is to Stay on Top of Your Oral Hygiene
A strong focus on your oral health is the key to avoiding needing this procedure. If you brush and floss twice a day, you can prevent the issues that cause this kind of deterioration of tissue in the mouth, and hopefully avoid needing this procedure done.
Please call us today at (972) 539-1491 to schedule your appointment today. If you experience gums that bleed easily for over a
John C. Shillingburg, DDS
Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Dr. John Shillingburg is proud to be a native Texan. After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science and from the University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio with a doctorate degree in dental science, Dr. Shillingburg completed a general dentistry residency at Fort Carson in Colorado. Read more.
is located in a beautiful new building right off of Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound, TX. With close parking and easy accessibility. Contact John C. Shillingburg, DDS, at our Flower Mound, TX 75028-1795 location. We are here for you. (972) 539-1491