Before reading this section, it will help to be familiar with implant therapy.
Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed into the jawbone. They come in different diameters and lengths, and have to be surrounded by bone to function properly and maintain health. In order for them to be surrounded by bone, the jawbone has to have a certain thickness (wider than the implant diameter). In cases where a tooth has been missing for an extended period of time, or when ridge preservation was not done at the time of extraction, the jawbone may resorb or atrophy, due to lack of stimulation by root/implant. When this occurs, it may be necessary to widen, or augment, the ridge for placement of an implant. This process is called ridge augmentation.
Ridge preservation is a fairly straight forward procedure that involves placing a bone graft in the deficient area. This bone graft is then covered by a membrane to prevent tissue ingrowth into the graft. By excluding the tissue, we allow the body to then replace this bone with its own bone. This process can take anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on the location in the mouth. In some cases, ridge augmentation can be done at time of implant placement and no additional healing time is needed prior to restoration. In other, more severe cases, ridge augmentation may need to be done prior to implant placement.
Have you been told before that you don't have enough bone for an implant? Chances are we can correct that. For a consultation, please schedule an appointment.