I'm considering to have my #4 tooth extracted soon. I still haven't decided on my options. I would like to avoid bone loss due to a tooth extraction. Is it true that a bone graft will ensure that I can prevent bone loss, whether or not I get an implant? Or will only an implant placed ensure no bone loss? Thanks.
The jawbone needs the physiological stimulus from the root of a tooth to maintain its volume.
When you have a tooth extracted, the healing process causes the extraction site to remodel, and generally up to 25% of the bone is lost during the first year.
One way that the dentist tries to reduce the amount of remodeling and bone loss is by grafting the socket, but even then, you will loose some bone. The more time passes, the more bone you will loose. This is called "atrophy of disuse".
The only thing that will prevent further bone loss is replacing the extracted tooth with an implant. That is why dentists encourage patients to replace the extracted teeth with implants, since it reduces the bone loss to a minimum.
If you don't have any contraindications for implant surgery, then your best option is an implant.
Carlos Boudet, DDS, DICOI