It has been estimated that more than 40 million teeth were extracted in 1999. An atraumatic extraction technique, together with ridge and site preservation, is important for function and esthetics following tooth replacement. This is particularly true if an implant is being contemplated for the extraction site. Atraumatic tooth extraction using the least-invasive procedure possible is the first step. Current techniques used for ridge and site preservation include the use of bone graft materials and/or resorbable membranes. Ideally, at the end of the process the area will be filled with vital, mineralized bone. A combination technique using deproteinized bovine bone grafting material and a resorbable collagen membrane has been found to produce a consistently preserved alveolar ridge at the site. The addition of a temporary ovate pontic helps to preserve and develop soft tissue contours during healing. Use of an appropriate technique preserves alveolar ridge anatomy, facilitates prosthetic management, optimizes function and esthetics, and enables the patient to be treated in a shorter time and with fewer surgical procedures.
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