In general, a vestibule is an entry way between the outside and inner chambers, and in the mouth, refers to the space between the inside of the lips and the teeth.  A Vestibuloplasty is a dental surgery usually considered only when there is insufficient bone and/or tissue to support dental prosthesis like dentures and implants.

Vestibuloplasty is a comprehensive range of surgical procedures, usually done by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon, to increase the height and width of the alveolar ridge of bone and gum tissue that holds the teeth, to provide sufficient structure to securely hold dentures or dental implants.

When all teeth are missing and dentures are being worn, the gums and underlying bone typically decease, because lacking tooth roots to stimulate the bone and keep it healthy and whole, the body reabsorbs the bone and it immediately begins to shrink both horizontally and vertically.  The membranes and tissues covering the bone also become diminished.  This, in turn, causes dentures to become loose and need refitting for new dentures.  Dentures can be relined, but unfortunately that is only a temporary fix to postpone the surgery.

A vestibuloplasty can be partial or total, and is done to restore and augment both bone and gum tissue by grafting processes or by increasing depth below the gums.

If bone loss is substantial a bone graft may be necessary, and in addition a procedure can be done to increase the depth between the top of the gum the space between the cheek and gum (the sulcus).  This type of vestibuloplasty is called a sulcoplasty, where the surgeon cuts and lowers the muscles and tissues that attach the cheek to the floor or the roof of the mouth and the lips.  With the advent of dental implants, this is now largely unnecessary.

There are various techniques for skin or mucosal tissue grafts.  A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body to stop pathogens and dirt from entering the body and to prevent bodily tissues from becoming dehydrated.  A mucosal graft is usually autologous, i.e., harvested from the patient’s own palate or buccal mucosa (the inside lining of the cheeks and floor of the mouth).

Other tissue graft types are allogeneic (genetically similar) collagen membrane (sometimes bovine), skin grafts, cultured mucosal grafts, mucosal mesh, dural grafts, and placental grafts (amniotic membrane).  Since 1910 the amniotic membrane has proved to be an excellent, almost ideal biological dressing.  Human Amniotic Membrane (HAM) is the innermost layer of placenta, and does not have limitations found in conventional grafts.  This biological graft has unique properties like wound protection, healing enhancement, bacteriostatic, pain reduction, anti-scarring, and cellular regrowth of skin (epithelization) effects. It may be a graft of choice due to its easy availability and low cost, which most likely makes it an ideal graft material.

While never used as a cosmetic procedure, a vestibuloplasty may also improve the patient’s appearance because this prosthodontic restoration can now be molded to provide contour and support for the lower lip and cheek portions of the treatment area.

If you are interested in vestibuloplasty in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.