I had a tooth removed about ten years ago and went in to get a consultation about a dental implant. My dentist said that there is some bone loss in the area so I would need some bone grafting done first. I have since learned that the dentist could have done a procedure that would have preserved the bone. I was never offered that option. Should that dentist have to pay for this bone grafting procedure as it could have been prevented?
Dental implants are a fantastic tooth replacement, so you choose well. Bone loss happens when a tooth is lost or extracted, because your body recognizes the tooth is gone and wants to use your body’s resources as efficiently as possible. Most people lose about 60% of their bone within three years. After that, the loss continues at about 0.5% of the structure a year.
The procedure you’re referring to is referred to as “socket preservation” or “alveolar ridge preservation.” This procedure is a sort of bone grafting procedure. It is done by placing bone material in the open socket which over time helps bone develop there and make it more likely you can have a successful implant procedure later without needing further grafting.
There are only minimal studies on its effectiveness. The procedure was still emerging a decade or so ago. The cost of materials was pretty high and there was no real research on its longevity. As a result, not many dentists even offered it, especially if a patient wasn’t planning on a dental implant. Even today, when procedures have advanced, not every dentist uses it.
In this case, I would just go ahead and get the bone grafting done and then the dental implant. With the procedure being new at the time, he may not have even known it was possible.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.