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Socket Grafting to Preserve Bone

The dimensions of your jaw bone are maintained by the presence of your teeth. This "alveolar" bone is generally softer and more vascular than most of your supporting bone such as the femur (leg) or the radius (arm).  When a tooth is extracted the alveolar bone which hosed the root literally melts away through a process called resorption.  It is a universal process that occurs following all extractions.  In severe cases, it will even affect the contours of the face.  Notice the pictures below.

 
This is what happens when a bridge is fabricated over bone that has not had socket preservation procedures after extractions Shows normal architecture.  Note the gum height between the teeth.

The following illustrations show steps that are taken to prevent the collapse of the alveolar bone following extractions.

A badly damaged tooth in need of extraction. The tooth is extracted using a nontraumatic technique
A bone replacement graft is placed into the "socket." The graft is covered with a resorbable collagen barrier to contain the particles.
 
A restoration is placed over the socket  An implant can also be used to replace the missing tooth.

spindler2.jpg (3537 bytes) 2005 Copyright.  All rights reserved.