Support your oral health and learn how an alveolectomy may improve how dental prosthetics function!

In part one, we examined the role of the alveolar bone and process is — it essentially provides structure to your mouth and keeps your teeth in place. This is disrupted through severe periodontal disease and trauma to the mouth. 

We’ll further dialogue and introduce the alveolectomy in today’s post. 

At the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery, we provide myriad craniofacial procedures to improve both the aesthetics and functionality of your mouth and teeth. Learn more about an alveolectomy below! 

Before we dive into the alveolectomy, let’s take a brief moment and talk prevention! 

To avoid alveolar bone loss, the best prevention method is basic, everyday dental care to prevent periodontal disease. This means regular teeth cleanings in addition to daily brushing and flossing. Other risk factors that can affect your alveolar bone and process include certain systemic diseases and lifestyle choices such as smoking and a poor diet. 

There are many ways to support your alveolar bone and process, let’s look at it in the visual below.

Alveolectomy Overview

An alveolectomy is an oral surgery procedure that removes some or all of the alveolar bone that surrounds a tooth or teeth to change the shape or surface of the tooth to prepare it for other dental procedures. 

Why remove the alveolar bone when we just learned how crucial it is to our oral health? This is an absolutely valid question! Yes, a healthy alveolar bone and alveolar process greatly impact your teeth, but there is a time and place when it has to be removed. 

If you’re dealing with severe periodontal disease or infected teeth, while preserving your natural tooth is always comes first, if it means preserving your overall health and improving your oral health, an alternative is sought.

Tooth extraction and an alveolectomy occur to prepare a patient for dental prosthetics such as dentures. This type of oral surgery has a high outcome with a low risk of complications. 

Who is an ideal patient for an alveolectomy?

People who are candidates for an alveolectomy are those who have severe tooth damage where saving the natural tooth is not an option — those who are looking into dentures or dental implants may also be good candidates for an alveolectomy. 

What is the goal of an alveolectomy?

The overarching goal of an alveolectomy is always to restore and improve oral health and specifically this oral surgical procedure aspires to:

  • Remove damaged and infected teeth from their roots
  • Prepare the jaw for the placement of dental prosthetics
  • Reduce the height of the alveolar sockets in a crown placement

Once the area is prepared and the teeth are extracted, an oral surgeon will remove parts of the alveolar and smoothe the surface to accommodate dental implants or dentures. This is important because it removes rough edges and increases spaces in the jawbone. 

When can dental prosthetics be placed?

Following an alveolectomy, dentures can typically be placed one to two days afterward.  

What does a typical alveolectomy look like?

An alveolectomy is an outpatient surgery that is performed under general or local anesthesia. Before the removal of the alveolar process, any infected or damaged teeth are removed and the area is prepped — the gums are cleared, giving access to the bone. In the actual alveolectomy, many dental tools and instruments are used to contour and shape the bone and then the incision is closed with stitches and dressed for protection. 

Once the anesthesia has worn off — a few hours later — the patient is allowed to go home. This type of surgery typically has few complications and recovery is quick. To support healing, patients are put on antibiotics, pain relief medications, and anti-inflammatories. 

What are the risks of an alveolectomy?

This surgical procedure is generally uncomplicated, however, there are some minor risks involved including: 

  • Infection
  • Pain and swelling
  • Bleeding

Alveolectomy At AOFS

An alveolectomy is a common procedure at our oral surgery treatment facility as it addresses and provides a solution for those who are missing teeth and need dental prosthetics such as dentures or dental implants. 

To learn if you’re a good candidate for an alveolectomy, schedule a consultation with our office today!