Socket Preservation Procedure
Preserving Your Jaw Bone after Extraction
Removal of teeth is sometimes necessary because of pain, infection, bone loss or fracture of the tooth. The bone that holds the tooth in place (the socket) is often damaged by disease and/or infection resulting in deformity of the jawbone after the tooth is extracted. In addition, when teeth are extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink, collapse or recede very quickly following the extractions. These events result in unsightly defects in your smile. The collapse may also result in an aging ‘sunken facial appearance’ of the lips and cheeks.
These jawbone deficiencies 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 socket is filled with bone or bone substitutes. The extraction socket is then covered with a self-dissolving artificial membrane or tissue stimulating proteins to encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. Sutures are often used for closure. 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 request a socket preservation procedure. This procedure is particularly important if you are planning to replace front teeth or if dental implants may be in your future.