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Preserving Your Jaw Bone After Extraction

After a tooth is extracted, the bone that held it in place, the socket, is often damaged by disease or infection. This can result in receding gums and bone, deformity of the jaw, and collapse of the lips and cheeks. These deformities can be prevented and repaired by a procedure called socket preservation.

Several techniques can be used to preserve the bone after an extraction. In one common method, the tooth is removed and the socket is filled with bone or bone substitute. It is then covered with any combination of the surrounding gum, artificial membrane, or tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage the body’s natural ability to repair the socket.

With this method, the socket heals, eliminating shrinkage and collapse of surrounding gum and facial tissues. The newly formed bone in the socket also provides a foundation for an implant to replace the tooth. This is particularly important if the patient is planning to replace the front teeth.

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