Ridge Preservation can potentially minimize the amount of bone loss that occurs between the time of tooth removal and implant or bridge placement, as compared to leaving the socket empty. Techniques and materials used for this procedure have steadily improved over time, making Ridge Preservation the most conservative bone grafting procedure available.
When a tooth needs to be extracted or pulled, your dentist will recommend ridge preservation to stabilize and preserve the existing bone in that area.
Your alveolar ridge extends from both the upper and lower parts of the jaw. It’s the bony ridge that holds the tooth sockets. After tooth extraction, the alveolar ridge can resorb as much as 30-60% of the bone. If too much bone loss occurs, there may be problems placing implants.
Ridge preservation is a procedure that aims to minimize resorption and maximize bone formation. Ridge preservation graft material and or membranes are placed in an effort to minimize the bone loss that occurs in the alveolar ridge after tooth extraction.
Additionally, ridge preservation:
- Creates a suitable environment for implant placement, and if your implant or bridge won’t be placed until a later date, it prevents you from having to undergo additional grafting.
- Is minimally invasive and there’s very little discomfort
- Is more cost effective and less painful than delaying the grafting procedure
- Helps to preserve and maintain a natural-looking smile
If Ridge Preservation is not completed at the time that the tooth is removed, future placement of dental implants or bridges can become more expensive, invasive, time consuming and uncomfortable.
What to Expect During a Ridge Preservation Procedure
Prior to your procedure, your doctor will go over any pre-operative instructions you should follow, as well as any specifics about the surgical process.
The following general steps may be included (see below):
- A local anesthetic is applied to the surgical site
- The tooth is carefully removed without disturbing existing bone
- A protective membrane may be placed in the socket before adding grafting material
- Grafting material is stabilized with stitches and/or a membrane
- Allow approximately 3 to 5 months for healing
In some cases, a tooth may be deemed hopeless and must be extracted to prevent the spread of infection and bone loss. Central Texas Periodontics will not only remove the tooth/teeth in question but will also provide services such as bone grafts to help preserve the socket for future treatments.
The most common reasons for dental extractions include:
- Irreparable tooth decay
- A cracked or broken tooth
- A reinfected root canal
- Advanced gum disease resulting in bone loss
What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction
You’ll receive an anesthetic to numb the area of your mouth where the tooth will be extracted. Numbing is typically done using a local injection, but you and your dentist can discuss whether a general anesthetic is the best option. A general anesthetic allows you to sleep through the procedure. In either case, you won’t feel any pain - although if you choose a local anesthetic, you’ll probably feel some pressure as the tooth is being removed.
A blood clot will likely form in the socket after the tooth has been pulled, and your dentist will pack the socket with gauze and ask you to bite down on it to stop the bleeding. Occasionally, stitches are required to close up the extraction site, but they are usually self-dissolving, and you won’t need to return to have them removed.
Infrequently, a dry socket can occur, where the blood clot opens up and the bone is exposed. The dentist will first clean the site of debris and then place a medicated dressing over the socket to heal it and alleviate pain. Your dentist can also prescribe medications for more pain relief or recommend use of an OTC pain reliever like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
Dry socket occurs in only 2% of regular tooth extractions, but is more common when wisdom teeth are removed. Smoking is another risk factor for dry sockets, and are more likely to occur if you’ve had previous infections.
Ridge Preservation in Central Texas
Whether you’ve chosen tooth extractions for dentures or you need to have a tooth pulled because of injury or infection, it’s vital that bone is preserved so dentures or implants can be successfully placed in the future. At Central Texas Periodontics, our specialists receive extensive training that includes three years of education beyond dental school. They’re highly qualified to place and maintain your dental implants.
We’re a family-owned practice that has served the local community since 2006. Contact us to learn more about our services or to make an appointment at one of our four convenient locations.