What comes to mind when you hear the term “oral health”? For most people, it’s something along the lines of: The condition of my teeth and gums. That’s a good response, but let’s broaden it. Oral health is concerned with all mouth functions, including the ability to speak clearly, chew properly and swallow normally. Your oral health can even be an indicator of your general well-being. For instance, issues with your mouth might be a revealing sign of bigger problems, such as nutritional deficiencies or systemic infections. As you see, oral health is a big deal.
In this blog post, we’re going to focus on an oral health procedure that may be needed after the loss or removal of a tooth. The treatment is called alveolar ridge preservation, or more commonly socket preservation, and can be critical to preventing jawbone loss. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Is Socket Preservation Necessary?
The first thing we should do is get a basic understanding of socket preservation, particularly why you’d need one and how it would be done. The article below does a good job answering the “why?”:
It’s not uncommon for the bone that previously supported the tooth to melt away once the tooth is removed — it doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. When this bone fades away, however, gaps form between the teeth, or the teeth can move out of alignment. This is why a socket preservation is typically performed at the same time as the tooth extraction itself.
Protecting the socket after a tooth extraction is very important. One reason to protect the socket is to avoid the development of a dry socket, which can form if the blood clot that protects the healing area is knocked loose, exposing the nerve beneath it….
The goal of socket preservation is to improve the appearance of the remaining teeth and gums and to make the process of getting a dental implant (at some point down the line) less complicated. Read more at North Hills Family Dental
The ultimate goal is replacement when dealing with a missing tooth or multiple teeth. Socket preservation will keep all your treatment options open — especially important if you’re considering dental implants.
Okay, we’ve addressed the why; now, let’s focus on how socket preservation is done. Continue reading to learn more:
During socket preservation, a dentist uses either a collagen plug or a bone grafting procedure (with a bone graft made of synthetic material, human bone, or animal bone) to fill the empty socket left by an extracted tooth. This preserves the socket in the jaw bone. After filling the socket, the dentist typically covers the hole with a layer of collagen or some other barrier membrane and sutures the gum tissue. About 30 days after the procedure, the barrier membrane is removed (or it resorbs into the tissue) and a new layer of gingiva (i.e., gum) covers the callous of bone…
Socket preservation is also known as alveolar ridge preservation after the alveolar ridges, which are the two jaw ridges in the mouth. The alveolar ridges contain the sockets of the teeth. Read more at Wilk Dental
Keeping your jawbone dense and strong is the key to restoring your smile with implants, the strongest, most stable and most durable tooth replacement method dental science can offer.
What Follows the Procedure?
Like most medical procedures, a successful outcome for socket preservation requires proper aftercare. Here’s a general guide to what you should and definitely shouldn’t do after treatment:
- Rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- Raise your head slightly when lying down.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth right away, as it can affect your healing time.
- Avoid drinking with a straw and spitting.
- Avoid hot liquids and or alcohol.
- If possible, avoid blowing your nose and sneezing.
- Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products for at least three days following the procedure.
- Take pain relievers as prescribed. They can also reduce inflammation.
- Reduce or minimize swelling with an ice pack on your cheek for 10-20 minutes at a time.
- After a few days, you can rinse your mouth with a saline rinse or warm salt water to kill bacteria.
- Continue regular brushing and using water flossers or interdental brushes, but avoid cleaning the teeth next to your extraction area.
- Eat soft, healthy foods and snacks that don’t require a lot of chewing, like soups, yogurts, and similar foods. Avoid foods like nuts, hard candy, steak, and chewing on ice. Read more at Colgate
Basically, these helpful tips come down to this: Don’t do anything that interferes with the procedure area or could undermine the healing process. You’ll get the best-possible results this way.
If you’re living with one or more missing teeth, or have teeth that should be removed due to damage or disease, contact Campbell Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to discuss treatment options, including socket preservation. Dr. William Campbell is the leading oral surgeon and dental implant provider in Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL. Call our office today to schedule your consultation. Our phone number is 706-324-6106.