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Need Dental Implants? Learn the Difference Between Socket Preservation and Guided Bone Regeneration

For most people, dental implants are the best solution for replacing missing teeth. Before the dental implants can be placed, however, the dental implant specialist must ensure there is enough bone at the site of the implant. Dental implants act like the root of the tooth and, as such, require a solid foundation of bone to be implanted in.

Without adequate bone at the site of the implant there could be several issues that may arise. If there isn’t enough bone to fully embed the dental implant in, either at the front or back of the implant site, the screw threads of the dental implant may eventually become visible and cause complication that will lead to the loss of the implant. The same is true if the dental implant is not fully submerged in bone, with the top sticking out.

Ensuring there is enough bone is an important step towards successfully restoring the aesthetics and functionality of the tooth as if it were a natural tooth. If there isn’t enough naturally present bone at the site of the dental implant, then it’s the periodontist’s job, as the gum and bone specialist, to make sure to create that bone. This is where bone grafting comes in, this is how periodontists create a solid foundation for a dental implant even if there wasn’t one.

When it comes to creating bone there are two common procedures, socket preservation and guided bone regeneration.

Socket preservation – This procedure is common when a tooth is removed with a plan to place a dental implant in the near future. Once the tooth is removed a plug of bone regeneration material is placed inside the socket left by the removed tooth, hence the name ‘socket preservation‘ (or ‘ridge preservation’). This is then covered up by a membrane to keep it secure, stitched up, and left to heal and grow bone. Once the bone has grown to suitable dimensions, the periodontist will place the dental implant in the freshly grown bone.

Guided bone regeneration – If the tooth had already been removed for a while and the bone at the site of extraction has shrunk due to the body absorbing it, in a process known as resorption, a different approach to regeneration, called guided bone regeneration, is needed. In this case similar materials are used as in socket preservation but the technique is different since there is no ‘socket’ that can easily hold the bone regeneration material. In a situation such as this one it’s important to provide a lot of support to the material using a sturdy membrane holding the material in place. It’s also important for the patient to be mindful of the site and avoid disturbing it as it heals. After healing is complete the dental implant or implants can be placed into the newly formed bone.

If you need a dental implant, whether your tooth has been extracted yet or not, the periodontal team at Concord Lexington Periodontics will be happy to see you for a dental implant consultation to see if you are a candidate for dental implants.

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Comprehensive Periodontics and Oral Surgery

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The information presented here is not intended or implied to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should be used for informational purposes only.