The procedure will vary to some degree on a case by case basis. In some instances, a ridge preservation procedure can be done at the same time the tooth is extracted. The dentist begins by numbing the entire area to prevent the patient from feeling any pain. If at any point the patient begins to feel uncomfortable, or experiences noticeable pain, the dentist will give him or her additional anesthetic. Sensitive patients may also qualify for sedation dentistry at the dentist’s discretion.
The bone grafting material will then be prepared. Bone could be taken from another part of the patient’s body, or it can be taken from another source. The tooth socket is then rinsed and cleaned to remove all debris and any resident bacteria that could cause infection. At this point, the socket is filled with the grafting material.
In some cases, dentists will place a special membrane over the graft to ensure that the bone and gum tissues heal properly. The socket is closed, usually with only a few stitches.
Ridge preservation offers a number of benefits to patients who have lost teeth. First and foremost, it preserves the shape and strength of the jawbone. This is important for more than one reason. Not only does the integrity of the bone itself need to be preserved, but the contour of the cheeks and lips, which are directly impacted by the shape of the jawbone, must also be preserved.
Secondly, this procedure fills the empty socket left by the missing tooth. Bone tends to grow better when it is in contact with other bone, so this actually helps the existing jaw grow a portion of its original mass back, eventually fusing with the bone graft material.
As a result, the shrinkage that will otherwise result from missing teeth is slowed down significantly. Without tooth roots, the jaw will begin to recede because it will not have the normal vibrations that are normally transmitted through tooth roots during biting and chewing.
Keep in mind, however, that this is not going to stop jawbone recession completely. Bone graft material will provide sufficient surface area for the recession to occur at a slower rate, but the only thing that stops bone recession altogether is a cosmetic dental implant.
Nevertheless, is still a procedure that is worth investing in for the sake of maintaining a healthy appearance and making future tooth replacement options less complicated and more comfortable.