Preserving the Jaw Bone after Extraction
Removal of teeth is sometimes necessary because of pain, infection, bone loss, or fracture of a tooth. The bone that holds the tooth in place (the socket) is often damaged by disease and/or infection resulting in deformity of the jaw after a tooth is extracted. In addition, when teeth are extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede very quickly resulting in unsightly defects and collapse of the lips and cheeks.
These jaw defects can cause difficulty in performing restorative dentistry whether 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 substitute. It is then covered with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue stimulating proteins to encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. 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 dental implant placement. 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 front teeth.