When adult teeth are lost, the health, structure, and function of the mouth all become compromised. The only way to avoid further dental complications following tooth loss is through restorative dentistry treatment to replace missing teeth. Dental implants offer the closest replica to the natural teeth because they provide a replacement for both the crown and roots of the missing tooth or teeth. While it is best to perform dental implant treatment as soon as possible after a tooth has been lost or extracted, it is not always possible to place the implants right away. To ensure that dental implant treatment will be a success later down the road, Dr. Kalil Abide may suggest that patients consider socket preservation. Dental implants and socket preservation offer our Jackson, MS patients the best chance to maintain a strong jawbone and a healthy, fully-functional smile following tooth loss.
Patients who have a full set of healthy teeth also tend to have a jawbone that is strong and healthy. This is because the teeth (and more specifically, the roots of the teeth) stimulate the tissues of the jawbone so that new bone is continually being regenerated. When a tooth is lost or extracted, there is a gap left in the gums and jawbone. The area where this gap exists is denied the stimulation that is needed to promote the growth of new, healthy bone and tissue. As such, bone degeneration begins. Almost immediately following the loss of a tooth, the bone in the tooth socket begins to shrink in both width and height. This bone loss only worsens over time. Since any restorative dentistry treatment will rely on the support of the jawbone, it is important to prevent bone degeneration by preserving the tooth socket.
Options for Socket Preservation
Socket preservation helps maintain the strength of the jawbone in areas of tooth loss. Socket preservation can prevent a collapse of the jawbone or a general compromise of the mouth and facial structure. There are two primary options for socket preservation: dental implants treatment and a bone graft.
- Dental implants: Dental implants are the only missing teeth treatment that replaces a tooth in its entirety, all the way down to its roots. If possible, dental implants should be placed as soon as a tooth is lost or extracted. Implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone where they act as artificial tooth roots. Once in place, implants absorb the shock of the bite and stimulate the jawbone so that new tissues are continually generated. Dental implant treatment preserves the tooth socket and replaces a missing tooth or teeth with strong and attractive restorations that function just like the natural teeth.
- Bone graft: In many cases, it is not possible to undergo dental implant treatment on the same day that a toot is extracted. To preserve the tooth socket until implants can be placed, Dr. Abide can perform a bone graft. Dr. Abide will place a piece of bone (which has typically been removed from the roof of the mouth) into the socket and suture the gum line closed. This graft will fuse with the natural bone to strengthen the jaw and preserve the tooth socket.
If you have experienced tooth loss, the best way to preserve the tooth socket and restore the health and strength of the smile is through dental implant treatment. If you would like to learn more about socket preservation and dental implant treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience. Dr. Kalil Abide looks forward to hearing from you!