What is socket preservation?

A surgeon speaking with a patient in an exam room

Socket preservation is a small bone graft that is placed in the socket of an extracted tooth to enhance bone growth and prepare the socket for a future dental implant.

Preparing an extracted tooth for implant placement

The best practice for replacing an extracted tooth with a dental implant is typically to place the implant immediately following the removal of the tooth. In the event that an immediate placement is not possible, the second-best option is to fill the hole where the tooth’s roots used to be with a socket bone graft.

Socket preservation protects against bone loss

The roots of your teeth provide stimulation to the jawbone when you chew. This pressure encourages the growth of new bone tissue to keep your jaw strong and healthy. Socket preservation helps after a tooth has been extracted by building up new bone tissue.

How does it work?

Socket preservation is a simple process:

  1. Once a tooth is extracted, the small hole where your roots were are filled with real or artificial bone tissue
  2. A collagen film is placed over the bone graft
  3. Gum tissue is pulled over the graft and sutured shut

After socket preservation

After socket preservation a patient should be careful when brushing around the area and should rinse their mouth often with saltwater to keep the wound clean. They should avoid smoking, alcohol, very hot foods or drinking with a straw as these actions can slow or damage the healing process.