Removal of teeth is sometimes necessary because of pain, infection, bone loss, or fracture of the tooth. The bone that holds the tooth in place (the socket) may be damaged by disease, and/or infection, resulting in deformity of the supporting bone after the tooth is extracted. In addition, after a tooth is extracted, the surrounding bone and gums can shrink and recede very quickly, resulting in unsightly defects and collapse of the lips, and cheeks.
Such defects may create problems in performing restorative dentistry whether your treatment involves dental implants, bridges or dentures. Bone deformities from tooth removal can be prevented and repaired by a procedure called ridge preservation. Ridge preservation can greatly improve your facial appearance and increase your chances for successful dental implant placement for years to come.
Several techniques can be used to preserve bone and minimize bone loss after an extraction. In one method, the tooth is removed and the socket filled with bone or bone substitute. This method greatly increases the odds that your socket will heal without collapse. The newly-formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for a dental implant to replace the tooth. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask if socket preservation is necessary. This is particularly important if you are planning on replacing front teeth.