It is a well-established fact that the surrounding bone ridge around an extracted tooth, the alveolar ridge, melts away after a tooth extraction. But why is it important to immediately preserve this bone with ridge preservation bone grafting?
The most obvious reason is that when you preserve your own jawbone, you eliminate the need to have that bone recreated later on. Bone grafting to recreate bone is more invasive, often requires a donor site and is much more costly. You will have several choices of how you can replace the newly missing teeth. All of the options rely on bone support and bone contour for function and esthetics.
- The best and longest lasting tooth replacement, which doesn’t involve cutting on and harming adjacent teeth, is a dental implant. Dental implants replace missing tooth roots and, therefore, need adequate bone width and height to successfully replace a missing tooth. The more bone support you have the stronger the dental implant will be. In some cases if the bone is not replaced the bone can degenerate to a point that dental implants can no longer be placed without having more complex bone grafting procedures to create the necessary ridge support.
- You may choose to replace the missing tooth with a less desirable option like a fixed bridge. This is a restoration that is supported by the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth on either side after they have been cut down. The replacement tooth, called a pontic, spans the space. If the bone is deficient and is allowed to collapse after tooth removal by lack of ridge preservation bone grafting, then there will be an unsightly space under the pontic that will trap food and possible also affect your speech.
- Other replacement alternatives for several missing teeth include removable partial dentures or full dentures. These too perform, feel, and look better with adequate supporting bone from ridge preservation bone grafting.
In order to better understand all the important information that you need to know before a tooth extraction, be sure to consult with Dr. Steven Koos D.D.S., M.D., an experienced dual-degree Chicago Loop Oral Surgeon.