Implant Ridge Preservation Grafting
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The extraction of a tooth leaves in its wake a hole that is surrounded by a shell of alveolar bone (tooth supporting bone). This bone’s only purpose in the human body is to support a tooth. As a result, when the tooth is lost the body quickly begins to resorb the bone unless it is immediately replaced with either another tooth, implant or in this case a “ridge preservation graft” (socket graft). The ridge graft is designed to fill the void left by the extracted tooth and hold the volume of this space while natural bone has the opportunity to proliferate and fill the space with high quality live bone. Depending on the size of the tooth that was extracted, the ridge graft requires between three to six months before an implant can be placed.
The material used most often for the “ridge preservation graft” is a xenograft comprised of bovine bone (cow bone). This bone (BioOss) is harvested from known healthy cows in Indonesia and is processed through a freeze drying procedure that renders a sterile end product containing only the mineral content of natural bone. The graft is applied to the empty hole immediately after the tooth extraction and is secured using a pledget of collagen and one or two dissolvable sutures (stitches). While the graft material has a granular form when used in this fashion (similar to the consistency of sand), it is retained in the tooth socket by the collagen pledget and sutures until it has the opportunity to begin consolidation.