A key to implant success is the amount and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed.
While the goal of periodontal therapy is to save existing teeth and to replace missing teeth, during the course of treatment it is sometimes necessary to identify hopeless teeth that might require removal. Removing teeth (extracting) may be necessary because of pain, infection, bone loss caused by periodontal disease, and/or to facilitate restorative treatment.
The bone that holds the tooth in place (the socket) is often damaged by disease and/or infection resulting in a jaw deformity when the tooth is extracted. These jaw deformities can create major problems in performing restorative dentistry, whether your treatment plan involves dental implants, fixed bridges, removable dentures, or reshaping your gum line for a more pleasing smile. Jaw deformities from tooth removal can often be prevented by a procedure called socket preservation ( extraction and bone grafting ) . Socket preservation can greatly improve your smile’s appearance and increase your chances for successful dental implants and other restorations for years to come.
Several techniques are used to preserve the bone and minimize bone loss adjacent to the socket. Using the socket preservation technique, the tooth is carefully removed and the socket and any associated deformity are then filled with bone or bone substitute. The socket is then covered with a biocompatible barrier, or membrane, to encourage your body’s natural ability to fix itself by regenerating lost bone and tissue.
Finally, the gum is closed with sutures ( stitches) and healing is allowed to take place. Depending on your individual needs, the bone usually will be allowed to develop for about four to twelve months before your implant placement or restorative treatment can be completed. However, in cases where the extracted tooth would present an esthetic problem, a temporary or provisional tooth can be provided at the same time the socket is preserved to maximize esthetics, comfort and function.
If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask whether socket preservation is necessary to help you achieve your treatment goals and set the foundation for dental implants and restorations that will bring a happy, healthy smile for years to come.
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