Socket preservation post-extraction Skip to main content

Socket preservation post-extraction

When a dentist or oral surgeon extracts a tooth, a small hole is left in your gums where the root of your tooth once was. When undergoing this procedure, patients have two options:

  • Preserve the socket.
  • Allow the extracted tooth to heal naturally.

Each treatment choice comes with pros and cons. The information presented here will help you to make an informed decision.

How does socket preservation work?

Socket preservation is essentially a small bone graft placed into the socket following an extraction. Bone-grafting material is packed in where the root once was and a collagen membrane is secured on top to boost bone growth.

Natural healing, dry socket and alveolar deformities

When a tooth is pulled, a blood clot will form in the socket to protect the healing area. Left alone, the socket will heal on its own and in time, gum tissue will grow over the hole.

However, if the blood clot is knocked loose for any reason, the patient will experience a condition called dry socket. Given the painful nature of dry socket, many patients opt for socket preservation to avoid this possibility.

Another potential risk with natural healing is the prospect of deformities in the alveolar ridge. Should your socket heal incorrectly, there could be complications down the road with installing an implant into the socket.

Bone deterioration and alignment

Jawbones retain their strength due to the pressure transferred to the bone through your teeth when chewing. Biting down stimulates your jawbone and encourages the continued growth of new bone tissue.

When your dentist or oral surgeon extracts a tooth, this means that socket will no longer be stimulated, leading to the deterioration of bone over time.

Socket preservation can work to stop bone loss before it takes place, augmenting the ridge to retain your jaw’s natural shape. Supporting your natural bone structure offers the added aesthetic benefit of preventing the shifting of teeth in your mouth. When a gap is left between teeth for a long period of time, the other teeth in your mouth can slowly move to take up the space.

It’s important to discuss your unique situation in detail with your dentist or oral surgeon. Your future treatment plans and needs will play a vital role in your decision to opt for natural healing or socket prevention.

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