What is Ridge Preservation and Why Do I Need It?

Have you recently had a tooth removed? If so, you may need a ridge preservation. Book your appointment online! We serve the El Paso, Tx area.


Have you recently had a tooth removed? Tooth extraction may be necessary because of tooth decay, to remove an impacted tooth, to prevent overcrowding, or to prevent the spread of infection.

Whatever the reason may be, once the tooth is removed, an empty socket is left behind. The empty socket is pretty sensitive and the lack of a tooth also leads to gradual bone loss in the area. To protect the socket and prevent bone loss, the dentist may sometimes recommend dental ridge preservation or socket preservation procedure.

Please continue reading to find out more about dental ridge augmentation or socket preservation at Sun Ridge Smiles.

About Dental Ridge Augmentation and Dental Socket Preservation

Dental Ridge Augmentation, also known as Dental Socket Preservation, is a procedure in which the dentist plants a grafting material into the socket of the missing tooth. This serves two purposes — it protects the empty socket from the external environment and it also prevents bone loss from the region.

Necessity of Ridge Preservation

Dental ridge preservation may be necessary for several reasons. The following are some of the most important benefits of ridge augmentation.

Prevent Dry Socket

As mentioned previously, the empty socket of the missing tooth is pretty sensitive immediately after tooth removal. Soon after the tooth extraction, a blood clot will form over the wound to protect the underlying nerves and bones from damage and exposure. However, the clot often comes undone in two or three days, which exposes the nerve and bone structure. This is known as a dry socket and it’s an extremely painful condition because it exposes the nerves, leading to sharp stinging sensations that extend till your ears. Furthermore, you can’t even control the pain with painkillers. Ridge preservation ensures that your nerves won’t be left exposed even if the blood clot breaks away — thus preventing dry socket altogether.

Preserving Bone Structure for Dental Implants

The root of your tooth is surrounded by a bone structure known as the alveolar ridge. This alveolar ridge supports the tooth — as such, if there’s no tooth to support, it doesn’t have enough stimulus to continue growing. This leads to gradual bone loss. You can lose approximately 25% of your bone structure within a year after losing a tooth. This prevents you from getting dental implants, which is the most effective replacement for missing teeth. In order to get dental implants, the dentist needs to screw the titanium post into your alveolar ridge. If you’ve suffered bone loss, you may not have enough bone structure for the procedure, which will necessitate a bone grafting procedure — both expensive and time-consuming. That’s where ridge preservation comes in — this procedure will prevent bone loss in the area so you can get dental implants later without any issues.

Cosmetic Value

When you lose a tooth, the bone structure starts wearing away. When that happens, the surrounding teeth also start drifting away. This can lead to misalignment, malocclusion, and several other issues that make affect the cosmetic and aesthetic value of your smile.

Ridge Augmentation Procedure

The exact steps of the ridge augmentation procedure depend on the location of the empty socket and several other factors. However, the following is a brief overview of the steps involved:

  • The dentist discusses your bone grafting options. You can get a bone graft from another part of your body, another individual, an animal, or synthetic materials. The dentist will discuss each of these options with you.
  • During the procedure, the dentist will create an incision in the empty socket to reveal the bone structure underneath.
  • The bone grafting material will be planted inside the socket and covered up with collagen.
  • The dentist will suture up the incision and let it heal.


Frequently Asked Questions about Ridge Preservation

Tooth socket preservation and ridge augmentation aren’t necessary procedures — and it’s not. However, if you intend to get dental implants in the future to replace your missing tooth, then it’s highly advisable that you opt for this procedure. Most people don’t get dental implants immediately after the extraction. You may just decide to get dental implants a few years later. By then, it will be too late and you would have suffered considerable bone loss. With ridge preservation, you keep the option of dental implants open.

To prevent dry socket, simply follow these tips:

  • Don’t brush your teeth for a day after the procedure.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes for at least 48 hours.
  • Only eat soft and cold food.
  • Don’t spit or gargle for at least 24 hours.
  • Don’t engage in activities like lifting, dancing, running, etc, for a few days.

Your empty socket will heal completely after one or two weeks. You may have to go to the dentist after one week so they can remove the stitches.

The following are the primary advantages of bone grafting after tooth extraction:

  • Preserve bone structure.
  • Prevents dry socket.
  • Prevents surrounding teeth from drifting away.
  • It enables you to get dental implants without complications later.

Bone grafting isn’t necessary after tooth extraction but it’s highly recommended if you want to preserve your bone structure so you can get dental implants sometime in the future.

Dental implants are one of the the best tooth replacement option because they don’t just replace the crown but the entire root structure. The dentist screws the metallic framework into your jawbone, which eventually grows around the metal, thus making it a part of your body. As such, the dental implant becomes a root on which the dentist can attach dental crowns, bridges, or even dentures. This ensures that your replacement teeth look and function just like actual teeth.

Schedule your Ridge Preservation Appointment

Sun Ridge Smiles has some of the best dentists in the country who will offer valuable advice on whether you need ridge preservation. We don’t recommend bone grafts unless it’s absolutely necessary for your present or future needs. For more information, please schedule your ridge preservation appointment today.