The ridge of bone on your upper and lower jaw, called alveolar bone, serves as a foundation to anchor the roots of your teeth. The sole purpose of alveolar bone is to hold a root. When a root is not present in the alveolar bone, as is the case when a tooth is removed, the alveolar bone will begin to resorb or melt away. As alveolar bone deteriorates, it can cause other problematic changes like shifting and tipping of the surrounding teeth and exposure of root surfaces which can lead to sensitivity and rapid decay. As the bone disappears, the gum tissues follow and overtime you may notice a dip in the gumline where the tooth once was.
Keeping your options open
Fortunately, we have the ability to preserve the bone in an extraction socket using bone grafting. Bone grafting is often done immediately after a tooth is removed to proactively halt the deterioration of alveolar bone. This prevents the damaging side effects of bone loss and ensures that you have more options for replacement of the missing tooth.
Dr. Mead uses bone graft to preserve extraction sockets when a tooth is removed and during implant placement to improve initial stability. Bone grafting is an integral part of restorative treatment plans involving tooth replacement.