There are times when we have no choice but to remove one of your teeth. It might be because you were in an accident that caused your tooth to break. We have to remove the broken parts of the tooth before they cause an infection. By taking out the parts of one tooth, we are hoping to save the other teeth around it. Sometimes we have to take a tooth out because it is suffering from tooth decay, and it is so infected we can’t save it. We remove one infected tooth to save other teeth. If we do have to remove a tooth, we don’t like to leave an empty socket.
That’s because over time, those empty sockets can mean your jawbone is weaker and is more prone to breaking. Empty tooth sockets can change your jawline or the structure of your face. Instead of leaving you with empty sockets after we remove a tooth, we can repair your jaw. We can even replace teeth that you have lost because of illness or infection. One of the procedures that we do regularly to help our patients is called ridge augmentation. Let Michael Yokoyama, D.D.S give you more information about ridge augmentation.
What Is Ridge Augmentation?
People within dentistry invented ridge augmentation after years of studying patients who had bone loss after they lost a tooth. If we need to extract a tooth, we want to replace that empty tooth socket with an implant - which is an artificial tooth that is the closest thing to a real tooth we have invented. While it is great if we can immediately implant one of these prosthetic teeth, we can’t always do this right away.
When your mouth is whole and is not diseased, your teeth are surrounded by a structure. This structure is called the alveolar ridge. This ridge is a piece of bone. It surrounds every tooth and helps to anchor your teeth safely into your jawbone. While children who lose teeth have empty sockets that fill with bone and tissue over time, which evens out the gumline, adults are not so lucky. When adults lose teeth, their bodies may not be able to replace bone and tissue that are missing. When this happens, we can’t use a traditional implant to fix the problem - at least not right away. We need to repair the alveolar ridge first, so that it can support an implant.
How Is Ridge Augmentation Done?
Ridge augmentations are usually done when we place a bone graft in the empty tooth socket. This helps us begin to replace the missing alveolar ridge. Once we place the new gum tissue over your graft, we can stitch it up. If we need to expand your bridge, we will work to build up your jawbone with a bone graft or series of bone graphs. We will give the area where we are trying to build up bone time to heal, and for bone to begin to grow. Usually, we can do an implant roughly three to six months after ridge augmentation.
If you have questions about ridge augmentation, we can help. Give Michael Yokoyama, D.D.S, a call at 760-632-9055 and let us give you more information on ridge augmentation.
Michael Yokoyama, D.D.S
477 North El Camino Real #C-306
Encinitas, CA 92024
Monday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm