When your dentist tells you that you’ll be needing an alveoloplasty, it’s normal to be unsure about what that involves next. While most people are familiar with what a tooth extraction or cavity treatment entails, far fewer have heard of an alveoloplasty. So, what exactly is it and when is it necessary to have one?
The term alveoloplasty is likely to come up when you’re preparing for dentures or a tooth implant. After an extraction, the dentist might discover that the newly-exposed jawbone could benefit from minor smoothing. The purpose here is for dentures to fit better than before and have a good chance of staying in place.
After the extraction, the dentist examines the jawbone ridge, looking for irregularities or bone spurs that might hinder recovery and create problems when you move to the next step, which is dental reconstruction.
Alveoloplasty can be a procedure that your dentist recommends as a standalone or it could occur at the time of the extractions. This professional will suggest what they think is the best option for you.
Put simply, alveoloplasty means the surface of your jawbone will need to be filed down and made even. This will save you a lot of discomfort in the future, but what the dentist is most interested in is having a smooth bone surface to work with during reconstruction.
What does Alveoloplasty Involve?
The oral surgery will happen under anesthesia, to numb both the bone and gum areas. Typically, it only requires local anesthesia, but you can receive sedation, if you prefer. If you’re having the procedure right after the tooth extractions, you probably won’t need additional anesthesia.
Next, the dentist will create a gum tissue flap, which will allow them to examine the jawbone underneath. Smoothing out the bone involves filing irregularities away or trimming large protrusions.
The whole procedure requires a lot of flushing with water or a saline solution. Flushing the site is necessary to wash away bone debris and to keep the exposed bone hydrated throughout the process.
When the dentist is satisfied with the way the bone looks, they then will position the gum tissue flap back into place. Finally, they will secure it with stitches.
Recovery after Alveoloplasty
The recovery process after an alveoloplasty is similar to what happens after a more common procedure, such as an extraction. The doctor will likely apply a piece of gauze on the affected area, which you will have to keep in place for a few hours to stop the bleeding.
You will also be required to maintain good hygiene by rinsing your mouth 3-4 times a day with water or a saline solution. To make a saline rinse, add a teaspoon of salt to 8oz of lukewarm water.
As you might have guessed, you’ll have to stick to soft foods for the next few days too. Doing so will allow the affected part to heal properly.
See an experienced dentist to help you gain more information about what alveoloplasty involves so that you know what to expect. Starting to understand the process now will help you feel more at ease on the big day.