From the time teeth are extracted, significant degeneration of the surrounding bone begins to take place. The amount and rate of bone resorption is unpredictable. This bone loss is a natural process, but it is an undesirable result of tooth removal.
There are many options available to prevent the rapid initial loss of bone, and it is important that you consider them before any teeth are removed. To minimize the rapid shrinking of bone, a bone graft can be placed in the socket at the time of tooth removal. This type of bone graft is straightforward and produces little or no discomfort. A ridge preservation bone graft can often prevent the need for major bone grafting in the future.
Example of the bone loss that can occur when ridge preservation bone grafting is not performed. Until a ridge augmentation bone grafting procedure is performed a dental implant can not be placed. A dental bridge replacement would appear unnatural due to the indentation in the tissue.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A TOOTH IS REMOVED?
There is a special type of bone surrounding your teeth, called alveolar bone, that exists solely to support your teeth. When a tooth is lost, the body's natural response is to begin resorbing the bone in the area, because it is no longer needed to hold the tooth in place. This "melting away" of bone occurs in two dimensions. The loss of horizontal width is caused by the collapse of the bone surrounding the socket. This makes the remaining ridge more narrow than when the tooth was present. The loss of bone in the vertical dimension causes a reduction in the height of bone available for implant placement.
HOW CAN THE BONE BE PRESERVED?
Dr. Ramirez uses the most careful techniques to extract the teeth while preserving as much bone as possible. After the tooth is extracted, the socket will be packed with a bone replacement material and covered with a small barrier material and/or sutures. Early on, the grafting material will support the tissue surrounding the socket and in time, will be replaced by new alveolar bone. Postoperative recovery following this procedure is usually no more complicated than that following the removal of the tooth without ridge preservation.
Although the bone created by socket grafting supports and preserves the socket, it will not do so indefinitely. Placing dental implants four to twelve months after the extraction and socket grafting will provide the best long-lasting support for preserving your bone.
IMMEDIATE DENTAL IMPLANT PLACEMENT
In some selected cases it is possible to actually extract the tooth and place the dental implant at the same time. If you are interested in replacing your tooth with an implant and want to be considered for immediate implantation, please call the office for a consultation prior to your extraction.