Ridge Preservation: A Guide to Maintaining Your Smile
What are the Potential Benefits of Ridge Preservation?
Ridge Preservation can potentially minimize the amount of bone loss that occurs between the time of tooth removal and implant or bridge placement, as compared to leaving the socket empty. Techniques and materials used for this procedure have steadily improved over time, making Ridge Preservation the most conservative bone grafting procedure available.
Additional potential benefits may include:
- Minimally invasive with minimal discomfort
- Preparation for future implant or bridge placement without additional grafting
- Creation of a suitable environment for implant placement
- More cost effective and less painful than delaying the grafting procedure
- Preservation of a natural-looking smile
Why Do I Need Ridge Preservation?
When a tooth needs to be extracted or pulled, Ridge Preservation is recommended for temporary stabilization and preservation of the existing bone in that area. If Ridge Preservation is not completed at the time that the tooth is removed, future placement of dental implants or bridges can become more expensive, invasive, time consuming and uncomfortable.
The most common reasons for tooth extraction include:
- Irreparable tooth decay
- A cracked or broken tooth
- A reinfected root canal
- Advanced gum disease resulting in bone loss
What Can I Expect from a Ridge Preservation Procedure?
Prior to your procedure, your doctor will go over any pre-operative instructions you should follow, as well as any specifics about the surgical process.
The following general steps may be included (pictured on the left):
- A local anesthetic is applied to the surgical site
- The tooth is carefully removed without disturbing existing bone
- A protective membrane may be placed in the socket before adding grafting material
- Grafting material is stabilized with stitches and/or a membrane
- Allow approximately 3 to 5 months for healing