Socket preservation, also known as alveolar ridge preservation, is a procedure performed by Dr. Keith or Dr. Gibbs that will reduce the amount of bone lost after having a tooth extracted in order to preserve the socket of the patient's alveolar bone. This will assist the patient in getting future restorative work done such as a tooth implant.
How Does Extraction Damage My Socket?
Having a tooth extracted is one of the most common dental procedures performed. Most often due to decay, teeth are extracted to bring your mouth back to health, removing damaging bacteria. After having a tooth extracted, most patients will experience normal and uneventful healing.
However, even with completely normal healing, there is often some resorption or melting away of the surrounding bone, resulting in less height and width than were present prior to tooth extraction. In addition, as bone resorbs, the overlying gum tissue also tends to lose both volume and its normal anatomic form. This bone loss will make any future restoration appear less natural.
The key to minimizing bone loss is a careful technique using gentle instrumentation and socket preservation. Socket preservation is an adjunctive procedure where the tooth socket is filled with a specially bioengineered graft and collagen plug system. This allows for us to predictably maintain the bone available for future implant placement.
These procedures are usually done in our office under local anesthesia. Post-operatively there may be some swelling and you will be prescribed an oral analgesic to help relieve any discomfort.
Preserving your socket can be important for more reasons than restoration, it can also help the patient avoid a condition known as dry socket. Dry socket forms shortly after extraction, if the blood clot that was protecting the healing area becomes loose or is knocked out, this then exposes the nerve beneath it, which can be very painful for the patient.
Healing After An Extraction
It is important to follow the instructions following your extraction. They are given to you for both immediate healing and for the long term health of your gums. Certain habits such as smoking can decrease your ability to heal. Please discuss this with Dr. Keith or Dr. Gibbs , as they can offer tips or guidelines that can save you time and pain.
For more information on socket preservation, contact our East Bay office in Walnut Creek, CA. Our dentists, Dr. Keith and Dr. Gibbs are here to answer your questions concerning extractions, and having your gums prepared for future dental work. For more information, contact our front office at (925) 266-3550.