What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small, titanium rods that are surgically placed into your jawbone. After the implant fuses to the bone, an abutment is placed at the top, which holds your false teeth in place. The rod acts similarly to a natural tooth root, and helps to keep your jawbone strong and healthy, stopping the bone loss that would occur should the teeth not be replaced, or replaced with other options such as dentures or bridges. For the implant to fuse properly, you must have sufficient bone mass to support it. If your teeth have been missing for some time, you may have lost a significant amount of bone mass, but this doesn’t render you ineligible. Before you get your implants, Dr. Scholes may suggest a ridge augmentation.
What is a Ridge Augmentation?
A ridge augmentation is a procedure that restores missing bone mass, giving your jawbone the strength it needs to securely hold dental implants in place, providing you with strong, permanent false teeth. After you are given a local anesthetic, your gum tissue is cut and lifted open to expose the bone. Donor bone from your body, or artificial bone, is then placed. Your jawbone then fuses with the donor bone or grows around the artificial bone material, providing you with a stronger jaw. The wound is stitched closed, and you are sent home to heal.
Recovery from a Ridge Augmentation
The time required to recover from a ridge augmentation procedure varies from patient to patient, taking anywhere from 4 to 12 months. Rest and proper care of the surgical site, and your mouth will help to aid in a quick recovery time. You will most likely experience some pain and swelling following the procedure, but these effects can easily be dealt with at home with over the counter pain medication and ice packs. Avoid strenuous activities, and put your exercise routine on hold, at least for a few days. You may be prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infections. Smoking should also be avoided, as this habit can slow healing and lead to serious complications. Dr. Scholes will provide you with specific aftercare instructions. Once the jawbone is deemed healed and strong enough, then you can undergo the procedure for dental implants.
Dental implants are quickly becoming one of the most popular options for replacing missing teeth. However, if you have been missing your teeth for a significant amount of time, your jawbone may be lacking the necessary mass required for implants to be successful. Schedule an appointment with Scholes Periodontics & Implants and learn if a ridge augmentation is right for you.