A socket preservation graft is a common procedure following extraction when a future implant is anticipated. The goal of the socket preservation graft is to help reduce bone shrinkage during the healing process of a tooth socket. The bone mineral placed into your tooth socket will help maintain the gum and bone dimensions of your tooth extraction socket as it goes through natural remodeling. This graft is often covered with several medicated sponge layers and dissolvable sutures. The blood clot that forms inside the socket under the sponge is the “glue” that holds it all together. It is your job to encourage a healthy clot to form in the first 24 hours and then protect it for 2-4 weeks until the gums grow over the dissolving sponges.
First Day: Bite on gauze and refrain from any activity for 30 minutes after leaving the office. Replace gauze or use a tea bag and bite with gentle but steady pressure 5 minutes every 2 hours during the first day. This will compress the sponge / clot / graft and assist the formation of a compact and stable clot. Remain on your antibiotic as directed.
Next 2-4 Weeks: Oral hygiene should be limited to Q-Tip swabbing one time each day with a 50/50 mixture water and hydrogen peroxide to mechanically and chemically remove plaque on the adjacent teeth at the gum line. Do not rinse the area to clean until the gums have healed over the exposed socket. Rinsing may prematurely dislodge your cover sponge. It takes 2-4 weeks for the gum to grow across and cover the graft as the sponges dissolve. The time of healing may vary depending on the size of the tooth. If a few graft particles are dislodged from the socket do not be alarmed. It is common to lose some of the most superficial particles during healing. If your protective sponge or a large number of particles come out in the first week, please call our office for instructions. Typical healing is 3 months after the gum closes over the graft. Call our office to schedule your implant placement on average 4 months after extraction.