What is a Pre-Prosthetic Surgery? Everything You Need to Know in 2022

a dentist shows a patient a model of teeth

Pre-prosthetic surgery is a procedure to prepare your mouth for the placement of a dental prosthesis, like a denture. Before receiving dentures, your oral surgeon might need to make minor adjustments to your jawbone to ensure the prosthesis is as comfortable as possible. There are several types of pre-prosthetic surgery that your oral surgeon might recommend. Read below to learn everything you need to know about pre-prosthetic surgery, why it is necessary, and if you are a good candidate.

Why is There a Need for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery?

Pre-prosthetic surgery creates the ideal conditions in your mouth to comfortably and securely accommodate a denture or set of dentures. A denture rests on the ridge of your jawbone, but the bone ridge is sometimes uneven and jagged. Before receiving the prosthesis, your oral surgeon will perform a pre-prosthetic surgery that aims to prepare the underlying bone in the following ways:

  • Smooth and reshape
  • Remove excess soft tissue
  • Reduce the bone ridge
  • Remove excess bone
  • Extract teeth

When is Pre-Prosthetic Surgery Performed?

The ideal time to receive pre-prosthetic surgery is at least six weeks before your oral surgeon takes impressions of your mouth. The impressions are used to fabricate your denture and ensure the prosthesis forms a stable, comfortable fit. Following a tooth extraction, it takes about 6 weeks for your mouth to heal enough for an accurate impression to be taken for your dentures. It takes about 12 weeks for the underlying bone to fully recover after a tooth extraction procedure.

Types of Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

There are several different types of pre-prosthetic surgery, including:

Palatal and Mandibular Tori Reduction

A tori is a harmless formation of excessive bone on the roof of the mouth or the lower jawbone beneath the tongue. The tori bone formation is not a health risk to patients, but it can interfere with the stability of dentures and create a loose fit. Tori reduction is a simple outpatient procedure that requires sedation, a minor incision, and sutures.

Tuberosity Reduction

The maxillary tuberosity is an area of the gum tissue in the back of your mouth that provides essential stability for a dental prosthesis or denture. Jawbone overgrowth sometimes occurs in this area of the gums, which prevents a prosthesis from making a secure fit. Tuberosity reduction is a pre-prosthetic surgery that involves reducing excess gum tissue and removing overgrown bone tissue. An oral surgeon performs this pre-prosthetic surgery in-office while the patient is under sedation.


Alveoplasty is a pre-prosthetic surgery to smooth and reshape the alveolar bone. The alveolar bone surrounds your teeth and sits atop the basal bone. Following a tooth extraction, the alveolar bone often leaves areas of irregularity that disrupt the proper fit of a prosthesis.


Vestibuloplasty is a pre-prosthetic surgery to correct the front area of the lower jaw to accommodate dentures. This procedure is necessary if a patient has been missing teeth for long enough that the jawbone shrinks from resorption. Resorption occurs when tooth loss has gone untreated, and the jawbone starts losing mass. Vestibuloplasty increases the height of the jawbone by lowering the lower lip muscle to create a stable foundation for dentures. This type of pre-prosthetic surgery is performed under in-office sedation or general anesthesia.


The frenum is an area of muscle that connects your top and bottom lips to the upper and lower jaws (respectively). The lingual frenum is the tissue that sits under the tongue. The lingual frenum restricts the tongue’s ability to move when it is too short or too long. This condition is commonly referred to as “tongue-tied.” This condition interferes with the proper fit of dentures, but it is easily corrected. A frenectomy is a simple and quick pre-prosthetic surgery to release the tongue from the frenum by cutting or removing the excess tissue. This surgery is performed in-office under sedation.

Are You a Good Candidate for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery?

Your candidacy for pre-prosthetic surgery is a determination between you and your oral surgeon, prosthodontist, or dentist. Patients are recommended for pre-prosthetic surgery if a patient’s alveolar ridge, gums, and underlying bone show abnormal development. A loose-fitting denture invites food debris and bacteria to fester in small crevices, increasing the risk of gum disease and infection.

A barrier to your candidacy is if you suffer from chronic health problems. Ask your oral surgeon if you are healthy enough for pre-prosthetic surgery during your initial consultation. Call our office to schedule your consultation and determine if pre-prosthetic surgery is necessary for you.