There are times when a patient needs oral surgery to reshape, smooth, and polish the jawbone when teeth are extracted or lost. Known as an alveoloplasty, this bone leveling is a surgical smoothing and recontouring of the jawbone ridge.
Leveling Jawbone for Dentures
This bone reshaping can be performed as part of a tooth extraction or as a stand-alone procedure done to prepare the patient for denture construction. As the bones in the mouth are reshaped to feel smooth and fine, this gives the mouth a level surface after smoothing wavy or bumpy bone surfaces so that a dental appliance (like dentures) can be worn to replace missing teeth.
When a patient is getting a partial or complete denture, the jaw reshaping surgery helps optimize their jawbone shape. Smoothing out bony lumps, tapering the jaw ridge or flattening can all prepare the way for optimally fitting dentures. This reshaping of the jawbone ridge will help the denture fit comfortably and stable and secure so that food particles and oral debris do not become trapped under the denture, which could cause irritation or infection of gum tissue. The denture needs to slip over the jawbone easily for proper fit. In addition, should the jawbone ridge have an area that is too concave, it needs to be attended to so the denture can fit the way it should.
Smoothing Jawbone After Extraction
An alveoloplasty can also be done with no accompanying extractions as a stand-alone procedure. For example, if a patient has extra lumps of bone on the jaw or the hard palate or some other kind of skeletal irregularity in the jaw. The complexity of the procedure depends on a variety of things, such as location on the jawbone that is being treated, how much contouring is needed, and how big the extraction site will be when the tooth or teeth are removed. Small lumps can be treated on the bone’s surface while big ones mean taking out sections of the jawbone.
When multiple teeth are extracted, our surgeon will look for any ridge irregularities and potential issues to smooth the jawbone, as extracting teeth can sometimes damage the jawbone. Taking care of this after extraction can also avoid the necessity of a second surgery down the road. You don’t want the jawbone surface to be rough and uneven or have a part of the ridge that is sharp or sticks out.
An alveoloplasty surgery is similar to any other dental extraction process, and you can expect to feel sore around the surgical site for a week or so. Complete healing usually takes about four to six weeks, and you can promote healing by implementing the following:
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication to help with the inflammation and discomfort.
- Apply ice packs on and off the extraction site on the outside of your jaw.
- Gently clean your mouth to remove bacteria, and rinse with an antibiotic mouthwash.
- Stick to a soft, warm (not hot) foods diet and avoid straws.
For more information about jaw recontouring with alveoloplasty, or if you are having teeth extracted or preparing your mouth for dentures, we invite you to call our surgical practice, and speak with a member of our team or schedule a consultation with our team.