Bone augmentation or the alveolar ridge augmentation procedure is inevitable for functional and esthetic prosthetic oral rehabilitation. In this article, conventional alveolar ridge augmentation methods are clinically demonstrated and are reviewed with reference to literature. In addition, distraction osteogenesis (DO), which has drawn considerable attention as a regenerative medicine, was clinically demonstrated. Then, the conventional augmentation methods and distraction are compared. Indications, advantages, and disadvantages of conventional augmentation methods including bone grafts, guided bone regeneration (GBR) and GBR with titanium micromesh (TIME technique) are demonstrated. Next, the mechanisms, indications, and advantages of DO are demonstrated and compared with conventional methods. Although conventional augmentation methods are well established, there are some problems including donor site morbidity and risks of wound dehiscence and infection. DO seems to have advantages compared to conventional augmentation methods. However, there still have some clinical problems such as difficulty in vector control and technique sensitivity. For less morbidity and better efficacy in alveolar ridge bone augmentation, tissue engineering offers potential in the future. However, further basic and clinical study will be necessary for clinical application.
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