The bone that surrounds the roots of the teeth is referred to as the alveolar ridge. A ridge augmentation is a surgical procedure performed to restore the normal height and width of the alveolar ridge that may have been diminished as a consequence of having a tooth removed or for other reasons like denture wear or trauma. The main considerations when a reduced and narrowed alveolar ridge is present are how this lost tissue will effect the placement of a dental implant or other dental prosthesis.
A ridge augmentation procedure is performed by placing bone graft material into the tooth socket or immediately after a tooth has been removed or where there are deficient areas in order to rebuild the shape of the gums and jaw. While in certain situations dental implants can be placed at the time of a ridge augmentation procedure, they are more often placed after sufficient healing has occurred during which time the bone graft has successfully fused with the existing bone and new bone has formed. Bone graft materials can be collected from another area of the body, harvested from other natural sources, or can be made of synthetic materials. The choice depends upon the specific needs of the case.