The bone surrounding a socket where a tooth has been extracted will begin to deteriorate right away through a process called bone resorption. This can make it difficult for your dentist to insert the anchor needed in your mouth to attach an implant later on and you will usually have to have a bone graft done to secure the anchor to the bone. Your dentist may decide to try to preserve the bone right after a tooth extraction to prevent the resorption process from happening. If your dentist has told you that they will do a procedure to preserve the bone so it doesn't deteriorate, here is an overview of how the bone deteriorates and what the dentist will do to prevent it.
Bone Deterioration Process
As soon as your tooth is extracted, the empty socket fills up with blood. The blood will eventually turn into bone, but the outer layer of old bone will deteriorate as the calcium in it gets transferred to the blood in the socket. The ridge of your bone will thin and become deformed. When the dentist drills a hole for the anchor for the implant, the sides of the bone can break apart and it won't hold the anchor. To prevent this from happening, your dentist may decide to do a procedure to preserve the socket and bone.
Preventing Bone Deterioration
The dentist will use a bone substitute material to fill the empty socket. A membrane will normally be inserted into the socket before the bone substitute material is added. The membrane is used because the sides of the bone often get damaged during the tooth extraction and the substitute material can leak out into the gums. The membrane seals the gaps in the side of bones and makes sure the substitute material stays where it should. The membrane also helps the wound to heal after an extraction.
The bone substitute material displaces the blood in the socket and stops the calcium in the bone from getting absorbed by the blood. This also keeps the bone from becoming deformed and ensures the ridge of the bone stays in its original shape. After a few months or so, the bone substitute gets merged into the new bone that will grow in your mouth.
Once the bone material and the new bone merge into one, the dentist can safely drill a secure hole to put the anchor for a tooth implant.
Contact a dentist, like those at Oral Surgery Associates Inc, for more info.