Home Health/Medical The Importance of Socket Preservation Bone Grafting: Restorative Flexibility After Tooth Extraction

The Importance of Socket Preservation Bone Grafting: Restorative Flexibility After Tooth Extraction


There are many decisions we make in life that may be affected by the unknown variables of the future. Some of these variables could be financially related as well as health related. Making decisions about a tooth extraction is no different. One should consider all the available options of future replacement and make the decision that best sets them up for success for their desired dental goals.

Part of what should be considered when you need a tooth extracted, is whether to proceed with socket preservation bone grafting at the time of your extraction procedure. For those unfamiliar with this terminology, socket preservation bone grafting involves sterilized bone granules being added to an empty tooth socket to assist in the healing and regeneration of your natural bone. This type of procedure has many benefits, including minimizing the risk of healing complications and helping to maintain the natural structure of your jaw. Most importantly, it gives you time and options when still considering how you might restore the tooth area.

Many times, when the socket is left empty after an extraction, it may take a long time for natural bone to fill in the hole. Additionally, the natural bone may regenerate in an inconsistent manner, which could result in uncomfortable bony ridges or the atrophy of the natural bone contour of your jaw. Maintaining bone volume and shape are important elements for the success of many restorative treatments which you may decide to pursue following an extraction.

An easy way imagine socket preservation bone grafting is to compare what takes place when you remove a tree from the soil. When removing a tree with its entire root system, it generally leaves a large hole. The soil in the hole becomes more susceptible to weather elements, such as wind and rain. Over time, the hole may fill partially, but it’s unpredictable how well it will fill or how stable the environment will be.

Similarly, when a tooth is extracted without socket preservation, the empty socket is like an unfilled hole in the earth. Without the tooth to stabilize the surrounding bone, the bone in that area can shift and create an unstable foundation, much like erosion. This can make future procedures more challenging and costly, as more extensive bone grafting may be required to restore the lost bone volume.

By performing bone grafting immediately after a tooth extraction, it’s essentially filling in the hole that is left behind. Just as filling the hole in the earth prevents eroding and prepares the ground for planting a new tree, socket preservation helps maintain the jawbone’s structural integrity, which is essential for supporting adjacent teeth. For patients considering dental implants, bone grafting is a proactive step that can often save time and money in the long run.

The bone graft materials used in a socket preservation graft can vary, and may include human cadaver bone or cow bone. These materials are sourced from tissue banks, which undergo a rigorous sterilization process, and are devoid of any identifying markers from the donor. This ensures that the graft material is safe and compatible to be used inside the mouth for bone grafting procedures.

The healing process for socket preservation typically takes about four months, during which the bone graft material integrates with the surrounding bone. After this period, patients can usually proceed with dental implant placement or other restorative procedures. However, it’s important to note that the timeline may vary based on individual healing. Ultimately, socket preservation bone grafting provides patients with long-term oral health benefits as well as flexibility in restorative procedures following tooth extraction. Additionally, it often helps to minimize the risk of complications, such as dry sockets, and ensures a smoother recovery process.

If you’re considering having a tooth taken out or dental implants placed, schedule a consultation with Dr. Brian R. Cherry of Cherry Orchard Oral & Implant Surgery to learn more about socket preservation and how it may benefit you.