If you want to get a dental implant but you have insufficient bone density in your jaw, you may think that you aren't a candidate for this procedure. However, there are lots of preparatory treatments that you can undergo beforehand to improve your success rates. For instance, some people get bone grafts to build up their alveolar ridges—the bony structures that hold teeth. The downside of bone grafts is that you have to wait a long time for the site to heal before you can get an implant placed. To shorten your overall treatment time, you may want to undergo ridge splitting. Read on to learn more.

What Is Ridge Splitting?

As the name suggests, ridge splitting is a surgery where the dentist cuts down the middle of the alveolar ridge to create more room for the implant fixture. At the same time, biomaterials, similar to bone grafts, are placed in and around the area of expansion to improve bone volume. Ridge splitting can be performed in both upper and lower jaws, but it is better suited for the upper jaw.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Ridge Splitting?

Again, one great benefit of ridge splitting is that your implant can be placed at the same appointment. With bone grafts, you have to wait for the site to heal before your dentist can place the implants. Ridge splitting can help to expand the jaw bone enough to improve angulation of the implant. This expansion also condenses soft tissue, so the overall density is improved.

Ridge splitting is beneficial because it may help you avoid a sinus lift. Occasionally, patients may need a sinus lift to make room for an implant, but this procedure comes with potential complications, such as the risk of an infection and sinus membrane perforation. With a ridge splitting procedure, your dentist may be able to make enough room to support an implant so that you can avoid a sinus lift.

The main downside of ridge splitting is that it can only achieve horizontal dimension not vertical. If you have severe bone loss in the vertical dimension, then you may not be a candidate for this procedure. You also still need to have a few millimeters of bony ridge to undergo a ridge splitting procedure. If you've been missing your teeth for some time and have severe bone resorption, splitting the ridge may not be possible.

To learn more about dental implants and other related procedures, reach out to a dentist in your area today.