Every day in the clinic we see dramatic post extraction ridge resorption. We accept this as normal because it happens for most patients. Dentistry has developed methods to preserve the alveolar ridge and we have studies that show minimal ridge resorption at 6 months when a site is grafted. In sites that are not grafted, studies have shown that between 37 and 50 percent of sites need to be grafted for implant placement.
However, because many patients delay implant placement, questions remain about the long term benefits of grafting. In the long term (2 or more years), does grafting prevent alveolar ridge resorption or do all ridges resorb irrespective if the site was grafted or not? Does the type of bone graft have different long term effects on whether the alveolar ridge will resorb or not? Is there a difference in long term ridge resorption between bone grafts that are resorbable and bone grafts that are non-resorbable?
We all have patients who delay implant placement, so let’s look at a few cases and then we can discuss this further.