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When you need more bone tissue in your mouth to hold onto a dental prosthesis, there are different ways that this can be achieved depending on what the bone in your jaw needs. Sometimes the bone needs to be added to or maintained in order to give you the amount of bone that you need. Bone grafting and ridge augmentation are two different procedures that can make a difference in how much bone you have and where it is located. 

Losing a tooth can cause the bone that was around it to degrade. This commonly makes it necessary for people who will be getting a prosthesis of some type to get more bone for the area. A dental implant in particular often requires the bone to be built up to hold onto the new tooth. 

Bone Grafting

The use of a bone graft may be necessary to help the dentist to save a tooth, to extract a tooth or to make the area better able to hold onto a dental implant. When a tooth is lost, a bone graft consisting of bone tissue can be added to the area that the tooth was removed from. About half of all dental implants require bone grafting. 

There are two main types of bone grafts that can be added to the bone. These are the autograft and the allograft. An autograft uses bone that comes from your body and transplants it to the jaw. This bone may come from the ribs, wrist, pelvis, hips or elsewhere. An allograft uses bone that has come from a donor. This bone has been well-treated so that it is suitable for use in your body. 

After a dental bone graft is applied to the bone, the natural bone will grow around it and absorb the material from the graft. This results in the graft portion being integrated fully with the new bone. 

When a person gets a bone graft, the first step is to get anesthesia. It may be a numbing of the surgical site, or they may need to have IV sedation, depending on the situation. Then, the tooth is extracted. Then, if bone sourcing is to be done from your body, this is done as well. When the bone graft is done at the same time as the tooth extraction, it allows the area to heal faster. 

Then, the bone is grafted to the natural bone and the area is closed with stitches. That’s when the healing begins. If you had IV sedation, you will need a driver to take you home. It generally takes about four to six months to heal completely from the procedure. At that point, you can get your dental implant. Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions for taking care of the area when it is healing. 

Ridge Augmentation

With this procedure, the goal is more about improving the size and shape of the alveolar ridge. This ridge is a bony area of both the upper and lower jaws that holds the tooth sockets in place. This ridge can be built up so that it can hold onto a dental prosthesis and keep it in place. The doctor might augment the entire bony ridge or just one section of it, depending on the need for augmentation

When a tooth, or multiple teeth, are removed, an empty socket is left behind on the alveolar ridge. This area usually heals well on its own, but that’s when there is enough bone and tissue there for healing. But, the bone can deteriorate quite a bit as time passes. With the tooth gone, the bone is not stimulated to stay in place, and it can then be lost.

Sometimes, it isn’t medically required to get the alveolar ridge built up to its original height and weight, and it may be done for cosmetic reasons. This procedure can be helpful for making the jaw look better as well as in recreating the natural contour of the gums. However, it can be necessary in some cases to get a ridge augmentation to get a tooth implant. When there isn’t enough bone in the ridge, it can make it impossible for a dental implant to stay in place, but a ridge augmentation can help to rebuild it. 

Building Bone

Both of these methods of building up the bone are helpful after a tooth is missing to battle bone loss in the area. If you are interested in getting a dental implant, one of these bone-building methods may be needed in order to have a bone that is thick and strong enough to hold onto the implant. Both of these procedures are great for helping the area heal and to restore the area where the tooth was extracted. If neither of these procedures is done, virtually all patients will have bone loss, and this can lead to problems like pain, soreness, infections and canker sores in the area. 

If you need an extraction or are losing bone after having one, give us a call at DFW Oral Surgeons to schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon.