Socket Preservation Procedure
Preserving Your Jaw Bone after Extraction
Removal of teeth at times becomes necessary because of decay, pain, infection, bone loss or fracture of the tooth. The bone that holds a tooth in place (the alveolus) is often damaged by disease and/or infection resulting in deformity of the jaw after the tooth is extracted. In addition, when teeth are extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede very quickly after the extraction, resulting in unsightly defects and collapse of the lips, and cheeks.
These jaw defects can create major problems in performing restorative dentistry whether your treatment involves dental implants, bridges or dentures. Jaw deformities from tooth removal can be prevented and repaired by a procedure called socket preservation. Socket preservation can greatly improve your smile’s appearance and increase your chances for successful dental implants for years to come.
Several techniques can be used to preserve the bone and minimize bone loss after an extraction. In one common method, the tooth is removed and the resulting hole (the socket) is filled with bone or bone substitute. It is then covered with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue stimulating proteins to encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. With this method, the socket heals eliminating shrinkage and collapse of surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularly important if you are planning on replacing the extracted tooth with a dental implant.