When you are facing a tooth extraction, there are many important things to consider. One is whether or not you plan to replace the extracted tooth in the future. If you do, and a dental implant is one of the treatment options, then our title question is an important one to ask. A bone graft to preserve the tooth socket may be necessary.
What is a Socket Preservation Bone Graft?
A socket preservation bone graft is a dental procedure that takes place at the same visit as the tooth extraction. After your dentist removes the tooth, he or she places bone graft material directly into the socket where the tooth’s roots were. The bone graft material itself can come from a variety of sources. Some products are completely synthetic while others contain demineralized animal bone. (There is no organic matter in these animal products, simply bony granules.)
The bone graft material looks like small white particles about the size of kosher salt. It provides a matrix in the empty socket into which your natural bone can grow and heal. The goal of this material is to promote your body’s bone to completely fill in the “holes” left by the tooth extraction.
What are the Advantages of a Socket Preservation Bone Graft?
The jawbone’s only purpose is to hold teeth. When we remove a tooth, the bone naturally shrinks in both width and height. This shrinkage could prevent you from being able to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant in the future. A socket preservation bone graft slows down the shrinkage process and preserves the natural width and height of jawbone in the site where the tooth was pulled.
A socket preservation graft is a simple procedure completed immediately after the tooth extraction. Unlike other types of bone grafts, no additional surgical procedure is necessary. The surgeon simply places the material into the socket, covers it with a collagen plug or membrane, and places stitches to hold everything in place while it heals. Because it is part of the extraction appointment, you are already numb, and very little additional time in the chair is necessary.
Because of the ease of placement immediately after the extraction, socket preservation bone grafts are also less expensive than other types of bone grafts that are necessary to replace bone that was lost. Preserving is always easier and less expensive than rebuilding!
If I Do Not Have the Bone Graft, Can I Still Have a Dental Implant in the Future?
Unfortunately, we cannot predict how much any individual’s jawbone will shrink, and how quickly that shrinkage will occur. We can say that we have seen both rapid bone loss following an extraction and missing tooth sites with plenty of healthy bone despite having the tooth removed decades prior. In general, we see more bone loss on the upper jaw than the lower, and faster bone loss in our older patients than in the younger ones.
Your oral surgeon can make an educated guess regarding your unique situation after studying your health history and detailed 3D images of your jaws. Again, we cannot promise anything because it is something that is impossible to predict.
More Questions about Bone Grafts?
Call Empire Dental Specialty Group to schedule a visit with our tooth extraction experts. We can assess your specific situation and answer all the questions you have about your extraction and potential tooth replacement options. We provide these services in both our Beavercreek and West Chester locations.