When a tooth is removed, the bone that previously supported the tooth can be lost creating a “defect”. This happens because the bone is no longer needed when there is no tooth to support. An indention is formed in your gums and jawbone where the tooth used to be. These defects can create difficulties with the restoration of the empty space. Your restorative dentist may be able to replace the tooth that has to be removed with an implant crown or a traditional bridge. However, these treatments may be compromised or not even possible if the defect is too severe. To correct this problem, your periodontist may perform a ridge augmentation procedure.
During this procedure, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. A bone graft material is added to build out the ridge. After healing, this procedure results in regeneration of lost bone and soft tissue that previously surrounded the tooth. An implant can be placed in the empty space after 6-9 months of healing and restored with a prosthetic tooth. A traditional bridge can be done after 2-3 months. This procedure allows the prosthetic tooth to appear as if it comes out of the tissue which provides a “natural” appearance.