Over time, missing teeth can cause your jawbone to shrink. Resulting problems include changes to facial structure (giving an aged, sunken appearance), shifting of remaining teeth and significant decline in the quality and quantity of jawbone available for anchoring dental implants. Historically, those individuals missing teeth for a lengthy period of time were not candidates for dental implants.
Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is lacking by performing a bone grafting procedure. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper size, but also restores tooth function and improves facial appearance.
Your doctor will likely perform some degree of bone grafting prior to or in conjunction with your dental implant placement, even if the missing tooth was recently extracted. By adding bone grafting material to the remaining socket (a process known as socket preservation), we are delaying the loss of bone and gum tissue that results once a tooth is missing. This proves particularly helpful when a patient is considering dental implant placement at a later date in the near future. If your dentist has recommended tooth removal, be sure to ask your oral & maxillofacial surgeon if socket preservation is necessary.