Preserving Bone for Implant Placement
When you need to have a tooth or multiple teeth extracted—whether it be due to decay, abscess, gum disease or injury—it is usually in your best interest to do so in a manner which preserves as much of your underlying jawbone as possible. From the time a tooth is removed, significant degeneration of the surrounding bone begins to take place. The amount of shrinkage is unpredictable, but any shrinkage can create difficulty for future implant placement. The goal of socket preservation is to improve the appearance of the remaining teeth and gums by preserving the size and shape of the jaw in the area of the tooth extraction, thereby enabling future implant placement. Having a tooth removed without socket preservation can result in additional procedures and multiple increased costs for future implant placement.
What is Socket Preservation?
The tooth is removed and the socket is filled with a bone substitute. It is then covered with a dissolvable tissue membrane which encourages your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. This technique promotes socket healing, thus eliminating shrinkage and collapse of the surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth.
Although the bone created by socket preservation supports and preserves the socket, it will not do so indefinitely. Placing dental implants three to six months after the extraction and socket preservation will provide the best long-lasting support and allow you to function as before. Otherwise, the graft will melt away or resorb over time.
The benefits of Socket Preservation
Socket grafting is an essential step if you are considering a dental implant because the graft will help maintain the natural contours of your jawbone. By maintaining the maximum volume of bone, the success of the planned dental implant will be far more predictable. A more predictable result can greatly improve your smile’s appearance, reduce jaw pain and improve overall function.
Are there other treatment options?
The only other alternative would be tooth extraction without the socket preservation procedure. This would jeopardize the ability to place a dental implant because of the potential of additional procedures and multiple increased costs for future implant placement.