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I Just Had a Tooth Removed and My Dentist is Suggesting “Socket Preservation.” Should I Do It?

There are quite a few reasons why you may want to seriously consider socket preservation. The main reason, however, is a process called resorption.

After our body loses a tooth, whether it is through unnatural damage (like tooth removal) or natural causes (like decay), the bone that surrounds the tooth begins a quick practice known as resorption. Resorption occurs because the body believes it no longer needs surrounding bony material after the loss of the bone itself (in this case, the tooth). Therefore, the body recovers this bony material into the body for other uses, mostly by disintegrating the seemingly useless material at a cellular level before dispersing is elsewhere throughout the body. Think of it as a sort of in-house recycling system.

Your dentist may suggest socket preservation to prevent resorption, along with the myriad of further complications that could end up accompanying it.

What Is Socket Preservation?

“Socket preservation” is a dental term for what is usually called a “bone graft” in clinical medicine. Like other categories of bone grafts, socket preservation is an effective stopgap procedure for filling in a hole where a tooth used to reside. This is done so that the area can heal in preparation for later treatment, or just heal generally. If the bone graft is not performed, the patient risks the (above) process of resorption. Resorption is known to weaken nearby teeth and render future implants and other methods of prosthetics dysfunctional, if not completely un-functional.

Aside from the medical consequences of bone loss and resorption, what might also worry you is the fact that the height of our tooth bones determines our facial features. A loss of that height as a result of an unpreserved socket can actually alter one’s appearance dramatically.

Because of this, many dentists prefer to proactively inhibit resorption and bone loss by using a bone graft, known here as the process of socket preservation.

What Else Should I Know?

There is great variety to the procedure involved in bone grafts and especially in socket preservation. The procedure may be contingent on factors like your dentist, your budget, the type of extraction performed, your total health, your oral health, and the type of material to be used in the bone graft itself.

For example, there are four different types of bone graft that can be utilized at the time of surgery. They are:

Autograft: Bone harvested from patient’s own body
Xenograft: Bone grafts or collagen from bovine or porcine origin
Allograft: Block bone graft from a cadaver
Alloplast: Synthetic biomaterials such as PLGA, hydroxyapatite, tricalcium phosphate, bioglass – ceramics, etc.

In most cases, the bone graft is a surgical procedure where one of the above materials is layered and inserted into the socket where the recently extracted tooth used to exist. This completed procedure is, effectively, socket preservation.

In summation, it is wise to consider the procedure of socket preservation if recommended. Safeguarding of your mouth, specifically its socket and bony ridge, is critical to future dental work, and to your overall health and even appearance. The benefits of socket preservation are many – not the least among them the overall sustainable health of the other teeth in your mouth.

Contact Champagne Smiles

Dr. Richard Champagne along with his in-house team of dental professionals together have over 35 years of experience in implant dentistry. To find out if you’re a candidate for bone grafting after tooth extraction, contact Champagne Smiles today to schedule your appointment.

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