Preserving Your Jaw Bone After Extraction

Pain, infection, bone loss or fracture of the tooth can make tooth removal necessary. Following extraction, the socket that holds the tooth in place is often damaged by disease and/or infection which can result in deformity of the jaw. When teeth are extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede rapidly, resulting in unsightly defects and collapse of the lips and cheeks.

These defects can create major problems in future restorative dentistry, whether it involves dental implants, bridges, or dentures. A procedure called socket preservation, however, can prevent and repair deformities of the jaw caused by tooth removal. This procedure can greatly improve the appearance of your smile and increase your chances for successful dental implants for years to come.

There are several techniques that can be implemented to preserve the bone and minimize bone loss after an extraction. In one of these techniques the socket is filled with bone or bone substitute immediately after extraction and then covered with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue. This stimulates proteins that will encourage your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. By using this method, the socket heals, eliminates shrinkage, and prevents collapse of surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly-formed bone also provides a sturdy foundation for an implant. Be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary if your dentist has recommended tooth removal—this will be particularly important if the removal will involve the front teeth.