Can Ridge Preservation Help to Maintain Your Smile?

When teeth are extracted or lost, the bone and soft tissue of the mouth can begin to collapse. With no tooth root available to stimulate the area, the jaw bone tends to begin shrinking almost immediately. When too much bone is lost, it could be impossible to put in implants in the future. For this reason, many oral surgeons are using a procedure called ridge preservation in order to preserve the jaw bone when a tooth needs to be extracted.

Why is it Necessary to Preserve the Ridge?

When a tooth needs to be pulled or extracted, ridge preservation can be used to preserve and stabilize the bone in the area temporarily. If your oral surgeon does not preserve the ridge at the time the tooth is taken out, the future placement of bridges or dental implants could be more uncomfortable, time-consuming, and expensive.

What Are the Benefits of Ridge Preservation?

Ridge preservation is an extremely beneficial procedure intended to minimize bone loss that can occur between the point of time when a tooth is removed and a bridge or implant is put into place. This is often a better solution than simply leaving the socket empty. Ridge preservation is now known as one of the most conservative procedures for bone grafting available, and materials and techniques used for the procedure are continuing to improve over time.

Additionally, ridge preservation comes with a variety of other advantages:

  • Preservation of a natural-appearing smile
  • Less expensive and painful than delaying the bone grafting procedure
  • Develop an ideal environment for the placement of implants
  • Prepare for future bridge or implant placement without the need for additional bone grafting.
  • The process is minimally invasive and is relatively comfortable

What Happens during Ridge Preservation?

The first step in a ridge preservation procedure is to remove the tooth that is affected. Your oral surgeon can do this via a simple extraction or a surgical extraction in which a cut is made into the gums to remove a tooth from beneath them. Your oral surgeon will work to maintain as much jaw bone as possible throughout the extraction process.

Next, bone grafting techniques will be used to fill in the space left behind by the missing tooth. Most commonly, live material from your body will be used to fill in the gap, and the grafted material will be secured to the remaining bone with titanium screws. The gums will then be sutured in order to complete the surgery.

How Can You Care for Your Mouth after Ridge Preservation?

After you’ve had a ridge preservation procedure, it is common to find small granules of the grafting material in your mouth for the first few days. Don’t be alarmed by this, as it is perfectly normal to have them come out of the graft site. In certain situations, a protective covering can be placed over the grafted area and will stay until your follow-up appointment. Should the protective covering fall off on its own, you shouldn’t worry.

It is important that you don’t touch or disturb the grafted area throughout the healing process, as the material will be movable while healing. You should also avoid vigorously spitting or rinsing for 3-5 days after your procedure, as your grafted material and blood clot will need time to stabilize.

As with any oral surgery, swelling is common. This can be minimized by using an ice pack and applying it firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. You should do this for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. After this time frame, you should switch to warm heat, and if you are prescribed any type of medication for swelling control, be sure that you take the prescription as directed.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your ridge preservation.