When teeth are extracted, the bone typically shrinks during healing and leaves an indentation in the gum tissue resulting in both cosmetic and potentially functional problems. Ridge augmentation, or bone grafting, is a specialized procedure that builds up lost bone and even gum tissue by using different surgical techniques. The procedure builds up bone density and mass with tissue harvested from elsewhere in your body, from an outside source, or from synthetic material. Once collected, the tissue is surgically secured in your jaw with small screws. The new tissue is also supplemented with your own bone marrow and other growth-promoting substances to catalyze the development of new bone tissue.
After the graft and supplements are set in place, the surgical site is closed up with membrane and sutures and patients are prescribed with antibiotics and pain medication. The bone graft will typically heal and begin to spur bone growth within the next six to nine months. Once you have sufficiently recovered, your dentist will determine whether the bone tissue boosted by the graft is dense enough to support implants.