Bone grafting is a broad term describing a procedure where a substance or mixture is placed in direct contact with live bone with the goal of new bone formation. At our clinic, we discuss the placement of graft material following tooth extraction to minimize bone and gum tissue loss that results when an extraction socket is left untreated. This is a specific bone grafting procedure called “Socket Preservation”. Socket preservation is an inexpensive procedure and is covered by many dental insurance plans. The advantages of socket preservation include:
- It maintains gum and bone tissue levels at normal heights
- It minimizes sensitivity in neighbouring teeth due to root exposure from post-extraction gum recession
- It maintains proper cleansability around neighbouring teeth by eliminating post-extraction gum recession
- It preserves the proper width of jaw bone post-healing to enable future dental implant placement
- It maintains proper gum contour and architecture to enable placement of an esthetic and natural looking dental bridge
What is involved in having socket preservation completed and how long does it take?
Socket preservation is completed immediately following dental extraction. The extraction socket is first thoroughly cleaned and irrigated. Next, bone graft material, which typically has the consistency of a thick putty, is placed directly into the extraction socket. A foam-like membrane or barrier is placed over the graft and the opposing gum segments are sutured to seal the healing site. A dental radiograph is taken to ensure proper graft placement and density. You will receive specific post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing of the socket preservation graft. Typically, graft healing is sufficient after 4-5 months to enable placement of a dental implant. Restoration with a dental bridge can be completed after 3 months healing in most cases.
Socket preservation adds roughly 3-5 minutes to the duration of a dental extraction procedure. Our patients find socket preservation to be a comfortable procedure.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Guided tissue regeneration is a more complex form of bone grafting that is utilized when one or more walls of an extraction socket are broken or lost during extraction. The procedure involves use of similar components compared to socket preservation. The fundamental difference is that a membrane or barrier must be extended over the graft material adjacent to the broken or fractured wall of the extraction socket. This barrier prevents invasion of the bone graft by gum tissue cells which would compromise formation of high-quality bone. Instead, bone tissue cells have unimpeded access to the graft enabling formation of robust, new bone.