Extraction Socket Grafting

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 or alveolar bone), is often damaged by this disease process. This damage to the bone often results in a small 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 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 be prevented and repaired by a procedure called extraction socket bone preservation (socket graft). Socket grafting 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. With this method 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 an implant to replace the tooth. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularity important if you are planning on replacing the front teeth.