Alveolar ridge – Definition & Meaning

The alveolar ridge is a term that is commonly used in dentistry and refers to the bony ridge that houses the teeth. It is an important feature of the oral cavity and plays a crucial role in the function of the teeth. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of alveolar ridge, its origin, and its associations in different contexts.


The alveolar ridge is defined as the bony ridge that surrounds and supports the teeth in the upper and lower jaws. It is a part of the maxilla and mandible bones that form the upper and lower jaws respectively. The alveolar ridge is composed of dense, compact bone that is covered by a thin layer of mucous membrane.


The alveolar ridge is formed during the development of the teeth and jaws in the embryo. It is created as a result of the interaction between the dental follicle and the surrounding bone. The dental follicle is a specialized tissue that surrounds the developing tooth and provides it with the necessary nutrients and support. As the tooth grows, the dental follicle induces the surrounding bone to form the alveolar ridge.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The term alveolar ridge is defined in different dictionaries as follows:

  • Merriam-Webster: “the bony ridge that contains the sockets of the teeth”.
  • Oxford English Dictionary: “the bony ridge that supports the teeth in the upper or lower jaw”.
  • Cambridge Dictionary: “the bone in the upper or lower jaw that supports the teeth”.


The alveolar ridge is associated with various dental procedures and conditions, such as:

  • Dental implants: The alveolar ridge provides the necessary support for dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jawbone.
  • Tooth extraction: The alveolar ridge may be affected by tooth extraction, as the removal of a tooth can cause the bone to resorb and shrink over time.
  • Dentures: The alveolar ridge is used as a base for dentures, which are removable appliances that replace missing teeth.


The synonyms of alveolar ridge include:

  • Dental ridge.
  • Alveolar process.
  • Alveolar bone.
  • Tooth-bearing bone.


There are no direct antonyms of alveolar ridge, as it is a unique anatomical structure. However, some related terms may be considered antonyms in certain contexts, such as:

  • Edentulous ridge: This refers to the alveolar ridge that is devoid of teeth, and may be considered an antonym in the context of dental implant placement.
  • Alveolar resorption: This refers to the loss of bone in the alveolar ridge, and may be considered an antonym in the context of dental implant success.

The same root words

The root words of alveolar ridge include:

  • Alveolus: This refers to a small cavity or sac, and is used to describe the sockets of the teeth that are housed in the alveolar ridge.
  • Ridge: This refers to a long, narrow elevation of land, and is used to describe the bony ridge that supports the teeth.

Example Sentences

  • The dentist examined the patient’s alveolar ridge to determine the suitability of dental implant placement.
  • The alveolar ridge had resorbed significantly after the patient’s tooth extraction, making denture placement difficult.
  • The dental hygienist instructed the patient to brush their teeth gently to avoid damaging the delicate mucous membrane that covers the alveolar ridge.
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