Ridge Augmentation

Early Wisdom Tooth Removal Prevents Future Dental Problems


Ridge augmentation is a surgical procedure intended to restore the natural contour of the jaw after tooth loss. Patients with insufficient bone tissue to support dental implants can often benefit from this type of surgery. Our team at Oral Surgical Associates provides a range of bone grafting procedures, including ridge augmentation, at our office in Missoula, MT. Drs. Eugene F. Morris and Armando Gama can perform ridge augmentation to improve the shape and size of your alveolar ridge and prepare you for any tooth replacement procedures.

Ridge augmentation can improve the appearance of your smile and protect your overall oral health, while creating a strong foundation for dental implants.

Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth

Almost everyone has two pairs of wisdom teeth, or “third molars.” These teeth erupt in the late teens or early 20s. However, most patients do not have enough room to accommodate the extra set of molars. Further, the wisdom teeth often grow in at an angle. As a result, when wisdom teeth erupt, they can cause crowding and dental misalignment.

In addition, wisdom teeth often become impacted. This occurs when the teeth do not fully erupt from the surrounding tissue. They may remain trapped under the gum or bone, causing discomfort, abscesses, and further misalignment. Impacted teeth also form a haven for oral bacteria, and they can increase your risk for infection, gum disease, and tooth decay.

The Side Effects of Tooth Loss

The alveolar ridge is an important structure which supports the dental roots. When a tooth is lost or removed, the surrounding bone is resorbed by the body. Over time, this can result in an aged appearance and insufficient bone tissue for dental implants.

Who Can Benefit from Ridge Augmentation?

Nearly any patient who has experienced deterioration in their alveolar ridge may benefit from a ridge augmentation procedure. The treatment can improve the appearance of your smile and protect your overall oral health while creating a strong foundation so you can experience all the benefits of dental implants.

Dr. Morris or Gama can evaluate your candidacy during a consultation at our office. We will take x-rays and scans of your jaw to assess your bone density and determine whether a ridge augmentation is the right bone grafting technique for you. Some patients may require sinus lift surgery as an alternative. Your doctor can also discuss sedation options during this visit, which include nitrous oxide and general anesthesia, to relieve any anxiety and ensure your comfort.

What to Expect During Surgery

During a ridge augmentation procedure, Dr. Morris or Gama will make incisions in the gum tissue above the affected area. Then, the doctor will place bone grafting material in the areas of recession. Grafts may consist of your own tissue or donor tissue, grafts taken from an animal source, or synthetic materials. Once the graft is secure, the doctor will close the incisions with sutures. We may also use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to promote healing and speed your recovery. Typically, ridge augmentation is completed in a single appointment at our office.

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