What is alveolar distraction?
For dental implants to be successful, they have to be placed into a sustainable foundation of soft tissue and bone. Sometimes, your oral surgeon may recommend a bone grafting procedure as a solution to build this foundation; however, many times, an alveolar distraction procedure can eliminate the need for a bone graft. Alveolar distraction can increase the height and width of the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth (called the alveolar ridge bone).
Alveolar distraction is a type of ridge expansion, and it can be used to restore deteriorating bone. Ridge augmentation is different than many other bone grafting techniques because it recreates the natural contour of the gums and jaw. This provides a very aesthetically pleasing outcome for the patient. It also strengthens and supports the affected bone which can mitigate the possible negative consequences that resorption can have on the surrounding healthy teeth and jaw bone areas, such as:
- Tooth loosening
- Tooth loss
- Misalignment of the teeth
- Distortion of facial features and overall aesthetics
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge may be required for dental implant placement or other aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure, and alveolar distraction can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant(s).
What happens during the alveolar distraction procedure?
Generally, this procedure is performed in the oral surgeon’s office under sedation or general anesthesia. The bone is cut to offer a suitable segment of bone to distract. Then the distraction device is attached to the bone, and a small part of the device will protrude through the gum to serve as an activation arm of the distractor. This distraction device will slowly separate the bone, so that new bone can develop and fill the space. After a brief healing time, usually about a week or so, the patient will return to our office, and the oral surgeon will activate the device. Activating the device will need to happen daily until the jaw is the appropriate height for dental implants. Approximately 12 weeks after the alveolar distraction procedure is complete, dental implants can be placed.
At Permian Basin Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, our team wants to provide you with the most comprehensive and efficient care possible. If you would like to receive more information about the alveolar distraction procedure and learn if it is the right option for you, please call our office and make an appointment at one of our offices in Midland or Odessa, Texas.