When tooth loss occurs, the ridge of bone that supported the teeth stops being stimulated and will eventually succumb to bone loss. Most of that bone loss occurs in the ridge, sometimes the height of the ridge shrinks, sometimes the width shrinks, sometimes both shrink. When you want implants and need to regain the structural support of bone that has been lost, a ridge augmentation procedure is recommended to give you back the bone you have lost.
During the ridge modification procedure, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to fully expose the defect in the bone. The bony defect can be filled with bone graft material that can help regenerate lost bone or a bone substitute. Finally, the incision is closed and several months of healing will be required. Depending on the case and type of implant and procedure, the dental implant might be placed during the ridge augmentation procedure or when healing is complete; this all depends on the condition of the bone. Ridge augmentation improves the cosmetic appearance, functionality of the mouth, and the chance of enjoying dental implants for many years.