Socket Preservation With Tooth Extraction: Why It Can Be A Good Idea

Posted on: 20 October 2020

Dentists will only remove a permanent tooth when it cannot be preserved. Prior to the extraction, your dentist will discuss your options for replacing the tooth. This might be with a dental implant, a dental bridge, or a partial denture. Sometimes this replacement will not be fitted immediately after the extraction. It might be a matter of finances, insurance, or another reason altogether. However, when your dentist suggests an additional procedure at the time of the extraction—a procedure to preserve your dental socket, here's why you should seriously consider this option.

Your Alveolar Bone

Socket preservation is designed to maintain the integrity of your alveolar bone. This is a dense ridge of bone that hosts your dental sockets and the teeth they contain. When a socket no longer contains a tooth, the surrounding alveolar bone loses some of its density. It will decrease in width by around 30% in the first 12 weeks after extraction, then should decrease by 50% 12 months after extraction. But how does socket preservation come into all of this?

A Bone Graft

Preserving the socket involves a bone graft, directly onto the socket. This is a means of preventing that decrease in width, which gives you greater options when you're ready to replace the tooth. Dental implants require considerable alveolar bone density to ensure the necessary strength and stability that an implant requires. You can receive bone grafting as part of the procedure, but this can draw the process out by several months. By choosing socket preservation at the time of extraction, you can prepare your jaw to receive a dental implant when you're ready to go ahead.

The Process

To preserve your dental socket, your dentist will clean the empty socket, and will then add the bone grafting compound. This can be your own tissue (harvested from your own mouth, or even your hip bone) or donor tissue. Your dentist then applies an artificial barrier membrane, before stitching the wound shut. Depending on the best process in your particular case, the barrier membrane can dissolve by itself, or your dentist might need to remove it several weeks later.

Additional Benefits

Not only does socket preservation keep your jaw strong and ready for future tooth replacement, but it can also help to preserve your very look. When some people lose a tooth, the actual dimensions of their face can shift, sometimes causing their face to look sunken. Maintaining the integrity of your alveolar bone with a socket preservation treatment can keep this from becoming an issue.

Contact a dentist for more information.