When it is time for a tooth to be extracted and you want a dental implant placed in that spot, there may be more than one option of treatment. One of the options is to extract the tooth (A), place a bone graft (B), and wait 4 to 9 months for the graft to heal (C) before placing the implant. This is called “socket preservation”.

Kelsey Perio Socket Preservation
Images taken from Irinakis T, Tabesh M. Preserving the socket dimensions with bone grafting in single sites: An esthetic surgical approach when planning delayed implant placement. J Oral Implantol 2007;33(3):156-163, Figures 4, 5, 7.

There are several reasons why one would wait before placing the implant, and if socket preservation is the treatment of choice, there are definite benefits. If you need a tooth extracted and would like to have a dental implant and implant supported crown to replace the missing tooth, be sure to ask your dentist about socket preservation prior to the extraction procedure.