We do our best to save all of your natural teeth, but there are cases in which tooth extraction is necessary. Gross caries, severe fractures or periodontal disease can deem a tooth hopeless.  When a tooth is extracted, it is recommended to receive a bone graft. This helps to preserve the bone in preparation for a dental implant.

What will happen if I don’t get a bone graft when my tooth comes out?

When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of bone around the extraction site. During the first year after tooth loss there is a 25% decrease in the width of bone. In addition, we expect to lose 4 millimeters of  bone height over the next few years.

Without grafting at the time of extraction, the ensuing bone loss creates difficulties placing an implant in the future. Bone grafting at the time of extraction is also highly recommended when placing anterior bridges. Grafting these areas helps to preserve the aesthetics of the gums and allow us to best enhance your smile.

Check out the video below for more information about bone grafting!

Frequently Asked Questions.

Where do you get the bone from?

The bone is actually cadaver bone. It is treated and packaged in a sterile container to prevent bacterial contamination.

How does the bone stay inside the extraction site?

The bone is held in with a membrane. Think of this like a band-aid. The tooth is extracted and bone is packed into the extraction. In order to keep the bone in place, we place the membrane over the top of the extraction site and suture it in place.

What happens to the membrane?

Depending on the type of membrane used, it will either resorb on its own or will need to be removed. We will let you know what the next steps are after the bone grafting is completed.

What if the area gets infected?

There is always a possibility for infection following an invasive dental procedure. To help mitigate this risk, we often will prescribe a course of antibiotics after the bone grafting procedure. If the area does get infected it will compromise the results of the bone graft so it is important to follow all of your post-operative instructions.

I’m a smoker. Do I need to stop smoking after the procedure?

We strongly advise against smoking for at least a week after the procedure. The act of smoking substantially increases the risk for graft failure and infection.

What happens to the space after the tooth is extracted?

While we are waiting for the bone graft to heal we will do one of two things. For posterior teeth that are not in the smile line we typically leave the space open. However, for anterior teeth we will fabricate a temporary prosthesis to fill the space. This way you can smile and talk normally without any concerns. 

How do I care for the site after the procedure is done?

We recommend warm salt water rinses two-three times daily to keep the area clean. It is recommended to begin this the day after the procedure is completed. It is also important to avoid chewing on that side of your mouth. A soft diet is encourage to avoid any trauma to the area. In addition, you want to avoid eating anything with seeds, or any small particles that can get stuck in the extraction site and interfere with the bone graft.