Dental ridge augmentation is a bone grafting technique that refers to re-growing a damaged jaw bone so that it can accept a dental implant. In order to place a successful dental implant the jaw bone needs to be of adequate volume and consistency. If the tooth has been missing for a long time, or the bone was lost as a result of an infection or trauma, then the bone volume is usually inadequate for supporting a dental implant.

Various techniques are utilized for regenerating bone in a deficient ridge. The selection of the techniques depends on multiple factors, such as the area of the mouth and the volume of the bone that needs regeneration.
Some of the more common techniques are:

  • Onlay graft or Block graft – The bony defect can be regenerated by using a small block of bone that is secured with small fixation screw into the area of deficiency. The bone block can either be bone from tissue banks that are specifically processed for this purpose or harvested from another part of the patient’s jaw.
  • Guided bone regeneration – The jaw defect is re-grown using bone and a specialized membrane. Once the graft is placed it needs 4 – 6 months of healing before an implant can be placed.
  • Infuse Bone Graft or BMP – Bone has a specialized growth factor in it called bone morphogenetic protein or BMP. This protein has been isolated and can be grown in the laboratory for use on bone regeneration. The results with this technique are often spectacular, but it is a much more expensive technique due to the cost of the BMP.
  • Ridge splitting – If the jaw ridge has a narrow width, then it can be split and expanded at the time of implant placement.