Socket Preservation Procedure

Preserving Your Jaw Bone after Extraction

Removal of teeth is sometimes necessary because of pain, infection, bone loss, or due to a fracture in the tooth. The bone that holds the tooth in place (the socket) is often damaged by disease and/or infection, resulting in a deformity of the jaw after the tooth is extracted. In addition, when teeth are extracted the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede very quickly, resulting in unsightly defects and a collapse of the lips and cheeks.

These jaw defects can create major problems in performing restorative dentistry whether your treatment involves dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Jaw deformities from tooth removal can be prevented and repaired by a procedure called socket preservation. Socket preservation can greatly improve your smile’s appearance and increase your chances for successful dental implants.

Several techniques can be used to preserve the bone and minimize bone loss after an extraction. In one common method, the tooth is removed and the socket is filled with a bone graft. It is then covered with gum, artificial membrane, or tissue, which encourages your body’s natural ability to repair the socket. With this method, the socket heals, eliminating shrinkage and collapse of the surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularly important if you are planning on replacing the front teeth.

However if there is active infection at the time of tooth removal socket preservation grafting is usually delayed until the infection has resolved. This may take several weeks. If grafting is needed then a ridge augmentation procedure may be necessary.

Please remember all of the procedures described here are surgical procedures. These surgical procedures are best performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only dental specialists who are fully trained in all of these surgical procedures. Dr. Schelkun, Dr. Kienle and Dr. Steinkeler are all fully trained and experienced in these surgical procedures. All doctors in our practice are board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery and in anesthesia, and have also earned both a medical and a dental degree.

Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler have the only practice in the Delaware Valley/Tri-State area where all of the surgeons have both their medical and dental degrees, and are board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery and anesthesia, and in which all of our surgical facilities are fully accredited by the Joint Commission. You can be assured that Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler have the best training and experience, along with the proper staff and facilities, to provide you with exceptional safe and comfortable surgical care.