Ridge expansion for dental implants
The ridge bone is the bone which surrounds and supports the teeth and in some patients this bone is too narrow, making the patient unsuitable for dental implants. In such cases a procedure to expand the ridge bone can be carried out.
Whenever a tooth is lost, the ridge bone begins to deteriorate. Equally, the ridge bone may lose density as a result of disease, or the natural ageing process. This loss happens in one of two way, either horizontally or vertically. In horizontal loss width the ridge bone narrows as a result of the collapse of the bone of the tooth socket, no longer allowing room for an implant to be placed. In vertical loss, the depth of the bone deteriorates making it impossible to securely anchor the dental implants. Ridge expansion procedures aim to add sufficient width and depth to the bone in order to fit dental implants.
Ridge expansion can also be performed should the jaw not be wide enough to support implants. Here, the bone is separated laterally, and, the inner and outer segments are wedged apart, creating a space between the divided sections of bone to be filled with bone graft. Depending on the individual case, multiple dental implants may be placed during the procedure.
Typically, a surgical instrument, not unlike a chisel, is used to open the bone and expand the ridge for implant placement.