Except for wisdom teeth, it may be important to consider replacement of a lost tooth by a fixed bridge or an implant. However, a lost tooth may leave behind a dental infection or insufficient surrounding bone; in these cases the immediate placement of an implant in the extraction socket is not recommended. Additionally, when teeth are removed, the surrounding bone may shrink. In order to preserve the space and augment the extraction socket, a material may be placed so that the site is preserved for further restoration by a dental bridge or dental implant. This procedure is done after cleaning the socket, and then inserting a grafting material that is compatible with the patient’s condition. An example would be autogenous bone, freeze-dried bone allograft or synthetic materials as in hydroxyapatite or beta-tri-phosphate. The socket augmenting material of choice is covered with a barrier membrane to help keep it in place. Over a period of time, the patient’s body heals, and should allow for the proper placement of a dental bridge or dental implant at a later date.
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