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 jaw after the tooth is extracted. In addition, when teeth are extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede very quickly after the extraction resulting in unsightly defects and collapse of the lips, and cheeks.

These jaw defects can create major problems in performing restorative dentistry whether your treatment involves dental implants, bridges or dentures. Jaw deformities from tooth removal can often 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. Most commonly, the tooth is removed and the socket is filled with particulate cadaver bone or bone substitute. It is then covered with the gums, a resorbable membrane of bovine origin, or other protective material to encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. With this method, the socket heals better while minimizing shrinkage and collapse of surrounding gums and bone. 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 ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularly important if you are planning on replacing teeth with dental implants.  It is also ideal if this procedure is done by the same doctor who will be placing an implant.

This procedure can be done under local anesthesia only, or in conjunction with I.V. sedation anesthesia.  Four to five months of healing is usually needed before proceeding with dental implant placement.