Preserving your bone for future implant placement.
What happens when your tooth is removed?
There is a special type of bone surrounding your teeth, called alveolar bone, and exists solely to support your teeth. Immediately following tooth extraction, this bone begins to shrink. Loss of bone occurs in two dimensions:
Why is it important to preserve your bone?
If you must loose a tooth, we will review with you several options for replacement. All of the options rely on bone support and bone contour for the best function and esthetics. Some possible options include:
How can the bone be preserved?
There are two important phases in retaining your alveolar ridge during and after the tooth extraction:
How does socket preservation work?
Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the socket will be packed with a bone-like material and covered with a small absorbable plug or membrane. A socket graft is a bone grafting procedure where the socket, or “hole” present in your jawbone when your tooth is extracted, is filled with bone either immediately following extraction in preparation for a future dental implant or in conjunction with an immediate implant placement that same day. With immediate implants, this may be necessary to fill a small gap in the bone surrounding the implant site. Early on, the grafting material will support the tissue surrounding the socket, and in time will be replaced by your own new, healthy, natural bone. This bone will be an excellent support should you choose later to have dental implant-supported replacement teeth.
Although the bone created by socket grafting supports and preserves the socket, it will not do so forever. Placing dental implants 4-6 months after the extraction and socket grafting will provide the best long-lasting support for preserving your jawbone and allow you to function as before. Otherwise the graft may shrink away or resorb over time.