Sometimes, due to tooth loss or extraction, the bone underlying the gums will start to recede. This bone loss frequently results in the sinking of the ridge of the gums. The pocket that the tooth used to fill in the gums will widen and deepen as the bone continues to recede which can leave a large indentation where the tooth once was.
Ridge augmentation is a great solution to the issue of unsightly pockets in the gums that can give bacteria a place to build up. In addition to the potential health risk of bacteria formation, deep recesses in the gums can be unsightly and make it impossible to place needed dental implants. Implants have the ability to look and act just like a real tooth, which can prevent changes in your bite and bone loss, and restore function/esthetic appeal to your mouth.
Ridge augmentation may also be needed to restore gum tissue in your mouth to give your teeth a more natural look. When gums recede they can leave teeth looking too tall, and often unsightly. This procedure is a fabulous answer to the problem of gum recession.
How is ridge augmentation accomplished?The process used to accomplish ridge augmentation depends upon where the issue lies—in the bone or the soft tissue (gum). If bone loss is the cause of the issue, hard tissue augmentation is required, which is often called a bone graft. If the gums themselves are receding the solution is a soft tissue augmentation, which is referred to as a gum graft.
As mentioned before, soft tissue augmentation is usually only performed to improve the look of the gums and teeth. Soft tissue augmentation starts with the retrieval of a tissue graft, usually from the roof of the mouth and numbing the area to be grafted. The graft is then placed and attached with sutures.
Hard tissue augmentation is done with the intent of restoring bone to a site that has experienced bone loss. The procedure is accomplished in much the same way a gum graft is accomplished. The site is numbed and an incision is made to lift the gum away from the bone. The bone graft will then be placed in the incision and attached with sutures.
Occasionally both soft and hard tissue augmentations are performed at the same time, depending on the situation and the patient’s needs. A recovery time of four to six months is needed to allow the augmentation to take and heal properly.