Socket Preservation

After a tooth extraction a socket preservation procedure is used to keep your jawbone healthy and strong. Also known as a bone graft, it is often completed at the same time as your extraction. A healthy jawbone not only helps you keep the full shape of your face, but can be done in anticipation for dental implant surgery in the future. The team at Bay Area OSM are experts in socket preservation. Call one of our offices today or schedule a consultation online.

Why would I need to preserve my Socket?

Once your tooth is extracted, with it comes bone loss. Not only does part of your bone get damaged as the tooth comes out, without a tooth there to stimulate the bone, its density begins to diminish.

Many times after a tooth extraction, your oral surgery provider will recommend a dental implant to replace your tooth. However, in order for a dental implant procedure to be successful, your surgeon needs to make sure your jawbone is strong enough to hold the implant. A socket preservation procedure is used to build back the density of your jawbone.

What is the Socket Preservation process like?

During this procedure your oral surgeon places a bone graft into the socket at the site of your tooth extraction. Bone grafts can come from the following materials:

  • A bone source from your body
  • Bone from a human donor
  • Sourced from an animal (i.e. cows)
  • Synthetic material

Once the bone graft is placed into the empty socket, your oral surgery provider will cover it with a thin membrane and then stitch your socket shut with dissolvable sutures. It takes some time for your jawbone to grow around the graft so your provider will have you return to the office after a few months for scans to check your bone’s density.

Is the Socket Preservation process painful?

Since most of the time the bone grafting occurs right after an extraction, you’ll still be feeling the numbing effects of the anesthetic. Therefore, a socket preservation procedure is no more painful than the extraction that came beforehand.

If you decide on a socket preservation after the fact, your surgeon will use anesthetic or sedation before cutting your gum to show the bone site for the procedure. There might be slight discomfort afterward for a day or two, but over the counter pain medication will most likely be all you need.

Frequently Asked Questions


Dry socket is a very painful condition that can occur after extraction. The blood clot that forms over the socket can sometimes get dislodged, exposing sensitive nerve endings beneath. A bone graft will be placed in the socket and that can help prevent the nerve endings from being exposed.


It is common to experience some bone loss after an extraction. This happens particularly in the height and the width of the alveolar ridge. The alveolar ridge is the name given to the part of the jaw that is found under the gum line where both the upper and lower teeth attach. When we bite and chew, the force exerted on our jaw bone stimulates new bone growth. Shrinking can occur over time because the jaw bone no longer receives stimulation from the teeth in that area. It is well documented that when a bone graft is performed after an extraction, the bone loss is less. It is also a good idea to have a bone graft because if in the future you decide to have a dental implant, your jaw bone will be ready to support it.


If you plan to use dentures after a tooth extraction, you may wonder if it is really necessary to have a bone graft. There are many benefits of having a bone graft, even if you are not planning to have a dental implant. Your jaw bone will be stronger after having a bone graft. This will give your dentures a strong foundation to fit on to. A bone graft will also help provide a smooth surface for your dentures, making it easier for the dentures to fix to. This will reduce any sliding that you could experience if you chose not to have a bone graft. The surgeons at Bay Area OSM would always recommend that you replace your teeth with an implant or hybrid implant as this provides the most secure option to replace your natural teeth.

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