Getting ready for an oral prosthetic is something that dentists refer to as pre-prosthetic surgery. Most patients require some kind of pre-surgery before getting oral prosthetics. For example, in order for the device to fit properly, some patients need a minor oral procedure before they can receive dentures. This extra step ensures that they have maximum comfort and a long-lasting device while wearing their dentures.

There are a number of reasons why individuals might need to have a pre-prosthetic surgery orthodontic procedure before getting dentures. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Removing excess bone
  2. Reducing a bone ridge
  3. Reshaping or smoothing the jawbone
  4. Removing excess gum tissue
  5. Uncovering impacted teeth

As you can see, what most dental professionals do with pre-prosthetic surgery is provide a better oral environment for your dentures. Whether this involves reshaping the bone to provide better support or removing tissue to ensure a proper fit, this surgery should ensure that your dentures work correctly. In addition, it ensures that they have a more natural appearance. That being said, this type of surgery can also be completed just to ensure that your dentures are comfortable when you wear them.

Looking back as far as the end of World War II, the development of dental prosthetics has advanced significantly. This includes the advancement of better materials to make the prosthetics. Likewise, dentists have developed a better understanding of oral physiology, which has increased the success rate of oral prosthetics functioning properly.

It’s important to remember that bone loss is common with dentures. The pattern of this bone loss differs greatly between the mandible and maxilla. In the maxilla, the resorption is typically seen on the inferior portion of the alveolar ridge and buccal. This type of bone loss usually results in an inward and upward loss of bone structure. In the mandible, the pattern of resorption is slightly different.

The Pattern of Resorption in the Mandible

The pattern of resorption in the mandible typically occurs outward and downward. It can cause the residual ridge to flatten very rapidly. Usually, the greatest occurrence of loss happens within the first 12 to 18 months of getting your teeth extracted.

Studies of jawbones show that there’s a wide variety of sizes and shapes that residual ridges come in. To simplify the matter, dentists have come up with a way to categorize the most commonly seen types of residual ridges, which include:

  • Order I — Pre-extraction
  • Order II — Post-extraction
  • Order III — High, well-rounded
  • Order IV — Knife edge
  • Order V — Low, well-rounded
  • Order VI — Depressed

This classification of residual ridges is used for not only research purposes but also clinical purposes. Additionally, it makes it easier for dentists to differentiate between the various stages of resorption in the residual ridge.

Of course, having a healthy residual ridge is an important part of having comfortable and properly fitting prosthetics. Thus, dentists will often use certain criteria to determine if your ridge is strong enough to support dental prosthetics.

What are the recommended criteria when it comes to determining if a ridge is healthy for comfortable support? A ridge that doesn’t meet the right criteria might result in ill-functioning and non-aesthetically pleasing prosthetics. Pre-prosthetic surgery articles say that the recommended criteria for a healthy ridge include:

  • The ridge should have adequate height and width. It should form a “U” shape for the dentures to function efficiently.
  • The oral mucosa needs to have an adequate and uniform thickness.
  • The ridge itself shouldn’t have any sharp or undercut ridges.
  • No soft tissue or bony protuberances should be seen.
  • There should be adequate depth for both the buccal and lingual sulcus.

The Objective of Pre-prosthetic Surgery

The main objective of pre-prosthetic surgery dental work is to correct conditions before getting prosthetics. These corrections are used to make sure that your mouth has the optimal structure to support the new prosthetics. In some cases, the area that will bear the dentures needs to be enlarged. The dental surgeon achieves this with a ridge augmentation or vestibulopathy.


One example of a pre-surgery is an alveoloplasty. During this procedure, your dentist will remove or trim the labial buccal alveolar bone. Sometimes, this procedure leads to the removal of some of the interradicular and interdental bones as well.

Most often, this type of procedure is performed at the same time as a tooth extraction. It can be done after a tooth extraction if necessary. During this type of surgery, the dental surgeon makes an incision along the crest of the alveolar ridge. Using a bone file, the dentist can contour the bone through the incision.

The Main Reasons To Do Pre-Surgeries

Dentists perform pre-surgery procedures to ensure that the patient’s dentures sit correctly on the ridge of their jawbone. For optimal comfort, it’s critical that the ridge is of the proper size and shape. It gives the dentures a more aesthetically pleasing look and makes it easier for them to work correctly.

Surgery can remove bone growths that occur along the lower and upper jaw. Excess bone growths can make it impossible or uncomfortable for patients to wear dentures. At the same time, surgery can be used in instances when bone deficiency makes dentures unstable. When that happens, a dental graft procedure might be necessary in order to rebuild the jawbone.

Other times, pre-surgery requires the removal of certain teeth. If you have some remaining teeth, they could be in unfavorable positions and make getting a good fit with your dentures difficult. As a result, these teeth have to be removed in order for your dentures to function correctly.

In summary, the need for pre-surgery when getting prosthetics, such as dentures, is high. Some of the core reasons that you might want to consider these surgeries include:

  • Achieving maximum aesthetics so that your dentures look natural
  • Gaining maximum comfort so that wearing and using your dentures doesn’t cause pain
  • Improving the overall function of your dentures so that they work and feel more like your natural teeth

Ask Your Dentist in Austin, Texas if Pre-surgery Is Right for You

If you have any more questions about pre-surgery before getting prosthetics, consult with our dentist. We can let you know which pre-surgeries would be right for you. From there, Dr. Jacob Buhler will discuss further options and make sure that you choose the right one to fit your needs.