In the past, when someone lost a tooth, they had very few options available to them to allow them to get an attractive and long-lasting restoration of their lost tooth. However, as dental implants grow in popularity, more and more of our patients are becoming aware of this attractive and natural-looking alternative to other dental prosthetic options.
While dental implants are a good option for many of our patients, some of our patients may not be good candidates for this procedure right away due to shrinkage of bone mass in their lower jaw after tooth loss. We here at Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center understand that dental implants often provide a superior restoration after tooth loss, which is why we are proud to offer a procedure called ridge expansion to our patients to allow them to become good candidates for a dental implant.
What is a Ridge Expansion and Why Is It Necessary?
When a person loses a tooth, bone loss almost always immediately follows. In the first year following the loss of a tooth, up to 25 percent of the supporting bone can deteriorate. It will continue to worsen as time passes, which is why it is so vital to treat tooth loss as quickly as possible to prevent this from occurring.
Your oral ridge bone is the bone in your mouth that supports your teeth. While one of the leading causes of loss of this bone mass is due to tooth loss, it can also become compromised due to infection (such as periodontal disease). Regardless of the cause of the bone loss, we can restore the bone mass with a ridge expansion, allowing us to build up the affected site. This will not only lead to a fuller, healthier looking appearance; it will also allow us to place a dental implant at the area, giving you a permanent restoration for tooth loss.
When you lose bone mass on your oral ridge bone, it starts to deteriorate in two different ways. First, it starts to shrink horizontally. That means that the area narrows and becomes thinner. As the bone loss progresses, it also shrinks vertically, which means that the height of the bone is also reduced. When you have bone loss, we cannot place the dental implant due to the lack of supporting bone in the area. We will need to perform a ridge expansion procedure to help accommodate the dental implant.
A ridge expansion procedure involves widening the oral ridge bone. We use a special type of surgical tool to perform the ridge expansion, called osteotomes. We will start by placing an incision into the gum to expose the affected bone. We will then divide the ridge bone, which will widen it. At this point in the procedure, we will then place bone graft material in the opening. This bone graft material is often comprised of donor bone tissue, either from another site on your body or from a donor. Once the ridge expansion is complete, we can then place the dental implants at the site, finally giving you the restoration that you desire.
Find Out if a Ridge Expansion Would Help Improve Your Oral Health Today
A ridge expansion is a very important procedure, allowing patients who may not otherwise be able to get a dental implant to attain them. To learn more about ridge expansions, or to set up an appointment with us to determine if you may be a good candidate for dental implants, please give us here at Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center a call at 925-290-7727 today!