What Is A Ridge Augmentation?
If you have been told that you do not have enough bone for an implant, you may be wondering about your options. Many people have heard of bone grafting, but there are several variations of the procedure.
Ideally, bone grafting should be done at the time a tooth is extracted in order to maintain a healthy bone level. This type of grafting is called socket preservation. Read more about socket preservation here.
Sometimes, there is a large deficiency of bone requiring a significant increase in height and width. In these cases, a larger bone grafting procedure, called ridge augmentation, may be required in order to prepare for implant placement. The animation below illustrates the process of ridge augmentation. Bone is added to the site, usually in particulate form. A barrier called a membrane is placed to secure the graft and guide the growth of new bone.
Where does the bone graft come from?
In the past, limited bone-sourcing options meant that patients needed another surgery to have bone harvested from other parts of their bodies, such as the hip or chin. Many patients believe that these are still their only options for growing enough bone for an implant, and subsequently, give up on the idea. Modern techniques and materials mean that most ridges can be augmented without such invasive surgery to collect bone!
Modern bone grafting materials include human allograft (tested and sterilized cadaver bone), animal-sourced xenograft (usually from a cow or pig), as well as some synthetic materials. Additionally, PRP and PRF techniques allow us to use a patient’s own natural, beneficial blood cells to dramatically increase bone growth and reduce pain in a grafted site! Learn more about PRP/PRF here.
How long do I have to wait after a ridge augmentation to get an implant?
While extraction sites can be ready for an implant in as little as three months after grafting, ridge augmentation usually requires a longer period of time to ensure proper bone growth. This takes generally six months on average, but every case is different.