Losing a tooth is never a good experience. However, if you have the opportunity to get it replaced with dental implants, you’ll soon regain all the functions you had before the tooth fell out. According to your dentist, a key part of the dental implant process is making sure that your surrounding bone can properly integrate with the implant. That’s why he recommends socket preservation for patients seeking dental implants, especially if they’ve already experienced some bone loss in their jaw.
What is Socket Preservation?
Socket preservation is essentially another term for a bone graft. A bone graft is a procedure performed to help existing bone regrow, allowing it to receive prosthetics more easily. A dental implant is technically a prosthetic for tooth roots, so having enough bone is necessary for receiving dental implants.
There are four types of bone grafts performed by doctors today. They include:
- Autografts – Bone used from the patient’s body
- Xenografts – Grafts or collagen from bovine or porcine donors
- Allografts – A block bone graft from a cadaver
- Alloplasts – Grafts sourced from synthetic materials
Why is Socket Preservation Important?
Socket preservations are important for two main reasons. The first is that dental implants will not be successful if there’s not enough bone for the implant to integrate correctly. A large factor of the implant’s lifespan is how well it adheres to the bone of the patient. Without successful osseointegration, the implant can easily loosen and fail. Dental implants shouldn’t have any looseness whatsoever, unlike natural teeth.
The other reason is to prevent bone from resorbing or dissipating once a tooth is lost. Many patients don’t realize that there is bone surrounding teeth known as alveolar bone, which helps anchor teeth and teeth roots into your gums. While implants are designed to stimulate bone after placement, your implant dentist will want to prevent bone resorption as soon as possible. By practicing socket preservation, he can stop this dissipation and prevent neighboring teeth from destabilizing due to the empty space left by the previous tooth. This will also make future prosthetic procedures much easier.
What are the Benefits?
If your dentist recommends socket preservation, it’s likely because it will increase your chances of successful implantation. The success rate is already typically high for dental implants, but you’ll get the highest success rate if you have enough bone to use (and practice regular oral care.)
In addition, you can expect all the benefits that come with dental implants (i.e. easier oral care, ability to eat your favorite foods, beautiful smile, healthier mouth) to last for many decades. With a socket preservation, you’re far more likely to see a smoother and more successful implantation.
Want to learn more about socket preservation or dental implants? Schedule a free consultation with your implant dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. Tim Stirneman earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Creighton University Dental School. Since then, he’s made the effort to continue his education annually. For example, he’s garnered 120 hours of dental implant training. To learn more about bone grafts or about his practice, contact him at (847) 915-3080 or visit his website.