What are Ridge Modifications?

Ridge modifications are procedures used to treat upper and lower jaw deformities. These deformities can occur due to various reasons such as gum disease, tooth loss, trauma, development defects, or prolonged denture wearing. 

When is Ridge Modification Performed?

Not everyone requires a ridge modification procedure – only those who have defects around the jawbone support the teeth, also known as the alveolar ridge. The alveolar ridges hold the sockets for the teeth. The ridge on the upper jaw is located just above the teeth, and the one for the lower is just below the lower jaw teeth. An optimally contoured dental ridge is not only necessary for having a healthy and aesthetic jawline, but it is also essential for replacing missing teeth, getting implants, and enabling dentures to sit properly in the mouth. 

When the dental alveolar ridge is not prominent enough, dentists have difficulty placing dentures in that region. Not only this, but the placement of dental implants is also not possible when there is an insufficient or improperly shaped alveolar ridge. This is because dental implants, just like the natural teeth, are embedded into the jawbone. If there is inadequate density or height of the jawbone, implants are not likely to succeed. 

How is Ridge Modification Performed?

Ridge modification is a surgical procedure. Therefore, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to make to comfortable and pain-free. Your dentist will start the procedure by making an incision over the soft tissues that overly the alveolar ridge – to expose the underlying bone. Next, they will place a suitable bone graft inside the bone defects or onto the bone, and shape the ridge to have a rounded contour and optimal height. 

Once the reshaping is finished, your dentist will suture the soft tissues back to their position and allow the region to heal for some time. You may be asked to come for a follow-up one or two weeks after the procedure – to check the progress. Your dentist will ask you to wait for about four to twelve months – time for sufficient bone formation – before moving forwards with implants. However, in some cases, dentists place dental implants immediately after ridge modification – a technique known as immediate implant loading. 

A ridge modification procedure is an effective method to enhance the success rate of dental implants and to improve overall facial aesthetics. Thanks to modern dentistry, no matter how extensive the bone loss, periodontists can restore it by using a variety of periodontal treatment procedures. So, if you had previously given up the prospect of getting dental implants because of insufficient or thin alveolar bone, now is your chance to get your smile back with a ridge modification procedure.