Treatment of Deteriorated Gum and Jaw “Alveoplasty”
Alveoloplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes and smoothes the jaw where a tooth or teeth have been extracted or lost. The part of the jawbone that houses the teeth is called the alveoli and “plasty” means molding, so alveoloplasty is the process of molding or reshaping the jaw.
Tooth Extraction and Jaw Bone
Why would someone need this procedure? When a tooth is extracted, the socket (the hole where the tooth is located) heals within a few weeks. However, once healed, the area may not be ready for a tooth replacement such as a denture, bridge or implant. The healed area is called the edentulous ridge and can be uneven or bumpy, not allowing the replacement tooth or teeth to fit well. Softening the jawbone prepares the mouth for successful placement of the new artificial tooth.
When is Alveoloplasty Performed?
The procedure can be done during tooth extraction or after the area has fully healed. As you prepare for tooth extraction, your dentist will evaluate your jaw and decide if it needs reshaping. They will also determine whether you should see a dental professional.
According to a published review, dentists often carry out this procedure at the same time as tooth extraction to shape the jawbone in a way that facilitates healing. Alternatively, the procedure can be performed after the site has healed, but before the artificial tooth is placed to ensure the jaw shape supports the new device.
Steps of the Procedure
In both scenarios, the patient will be under local anesthesia for the duration of the procedure, either during tooth extraction or after recovery. This ensures that the patient does not feel pain. The dentist will make an incision at the gumline to expose the underlying jawbone. The dentist will adjust the bone to the desired shape with the burr on a chisel or hand drill. They will close the gum tissue with stitches to allow proper healing.
Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after surgery, such as eating soft foods. Recovery will take several weeks. According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, the average time from alveoloplasty to placement of the artificial tooth was 23 days when the surgery was performed simultaneously with tooth extraction. If the procedure is done separately from tooth extraction, the time between surgery and tooth replacement can be close to 65 days.
Ready for Teeth Replacement
Alveoloplasty is a fairly common procedure designed to prevent complications associated with dental replacements. Once you have a smooth jawbone, your mouth will be ready for a fixed replacement tooth, such as a dental implant. Your dentist will be able to determine if you can benefit from this surgery and will be able to make a recommendation as to when it should be done. Their guidance aims to improve your oral health and help you achieve your ideal smile.