What Is Socket Preservation?

What Is Socket Preservation?

Team Oral Surgery

Socket preservation is a type of bone grafting surgery that preserves the jawbone after a tooth has been extracted. This type of bone grafting surgery is performed by oral surgeons to prevent the loss of jaw bone, by stimulating your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone. Read on to learn more about the procedure, the goals, and the results you may expect from socket preservation surgery.

Why is Socket Preservation Necessary?

If you’ve had a tooth extracted, you’re not only removing the crown (visible part of the tooth), you’re also removing the tooth root. The tooth root plays a crucial role in anchoring the tooth to the alveolar ridge, which is the strip of bone that surrounds your tooth root. When the root is removed, that strip of bone immediately begins to recede and change shape. Your body, sensing that the tooth is gone, no longer supplies the necessary blood, tissue, and energy to keep the bone intact. 

To counteract the body’s natural tendency to essentially give up on that area of the bone, your oral surgeon will surgically implant a small bone graft. This preserves the alveolar ridge until you can have a dental implant placed.  

Maintaining a strong ridge in the jaw is necessary to ensure the stability of nearby teeth, to support an implant, dentures, or a bridge, and to prevent worsening bone loss. Untreated bone loss in the jaw will ultimately put other teeth at risk of being lost and will change your facial appearance. If you’ve ever seen a person who normally wears dentures take them out, you know that the lack of jaw bone leads to a sunken appearance that makes you look older than you are.

What Happens During Socket Preservation Surgery?

Socket preservation surgery preserves your jaw bone following a tooth extraction. Although it is sometimes performed immediately following a tooth extraction, many times general dentists refer patients to an oral surgeon for this bone grafting procedure soon after a tooth has been extracted or knocked out.  

During the surgery, a bone graft, harvested from your own body, a tissue bank, or a synthetic graft will be placed into the empty socket. Your oral surgeon will also place stimulating nutrients in the socket that work to help your jaw bone regenerate. Once the oral surgeon has finished the placement, the incision will be closed, and surgery will be complete. 

Discomfort following your surgery is normal. You will be given post-surgical instructions which will include medication recommendations for mitigating discomfort, and instructions on caring for the site. Pain will subside over the coming weeks. However, it may take several months for the surgery site to completely heal, and be ready to support a dental implant or other restoration. 

Results from Socket Preservation Surgery

Your socket preservation surgery will reinforce your jaw bone, maintain your facial structure, and strengthen your jaw to support dental implants. It will also reduce your risk of further tooth decay, dry socket, and tooth loss. After a successful socket preservation surgery, your oral surgeon will be able to schedule you for dental implant surgery to replace the missing tooth.

Socket Preservation with a Bone Graft in Burlington & Cambridge

Although it is best to schedule a socket preservation procedure immediately following the loss or extraction of a tooth, bone grafting surgery can take place months or years after a tooth loss, to prevent further loss of your jaw. To learn more about jaw bone grafting, contact the Oral & Facial Surgery Centers of Massachusetts today.

Burlington Office: 781-272-0800

Cambridge Office: 617-468-3100