Introduction

After a tooth is extracted, the jawbone in the area of that tooth begins to shrink. The shrinkage is most rapid over the first year following extraction. Up to 60% of the original width and 40% of the height of the bone can be lost during this period. Replacement of the lost tooth with an implant may be impossible or impractical if the extraction socket is left to heal on its own. Socket preservation is a simple – yet extremely important – measure that is taken following a tooth extraction. It is completed at the time of a dental extraction to prepare the site for a future dental implant.

If you do not desire a dental implant and a bridge or partial denture is planned to replace the missing teeth, uncontrolled shrinkage can result in a very long and unsightly false tooth which can be very difficult to clean underneath. To prevent this, we often recommend extraction site preservation.

Procedure

This technique involves very careful, atraumatic extraction to prevent damage to the surrounding bone, and filling the socket with various types of bone grafting materials. Often this is done in conjunction with a membrane to prevent the gum tissue from filling the space before bone can form. Proactive treatment will allow us to control and minimize shrinkage after extraction. This results in more predictable and cosmetic results. Treating the problem before it occurs is always preferable.

Long-Term Benefits

Socket preservation promotes a healthy recovery after a tooth extraction, but it also does much more:

  • Cosmetic Benefits – if a tooth socket is not preserved following extraction, the jaw bone will begin to deform, causing permanent aesthetic changes to the patient’s face structure.
  • Dental Implants – All forms of dental prosthesis require good gum and jaw support. Socket preservation allows for a wide range of tooth replacement options in the future.