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What is the socket shield technique?

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

Partial Extraction therapy also known as the socket shield technique is most beneficial in terms of volume preservation over time of ridge dimensions.

When a tooth is lost. Over time the bone and gum in the area shrink in volume without anything to stimulate them.

Extraction site defect 6 months after tooth removal without ridge preservation

Dental implants provide this stimulation to the bone and therefore slow this process significantly. But what we have seen over the last few decades is that with time, even with implants the bone does continue to shrink.

Gum recession around dental implant

This is most significant in the front of your mouth where the bone is narrower to start and of course the stakes are higher at getting the aesthetics perfect. To address this issue a technique was developed called partial extraction therapy.

Implant Placement using partial extraction therapy technique

This procedure is where your tooth is sectioned and the majority of it is removed but leaving behind a thin shelf of tooth against the one in the front. This fragment is called a socket shield. It essentially works with our natural biology in tricking the body to treat it as if a tooth is still there. Preventing any shrinkage over time and maintaining the natural gum architecture we often see lost after implant surgery.

Partial Extraction Therapy technique used to reconstruct upper jaw

You can see here one of our patients the difference very clearly. One implant was placed some time ago elsewhere without the partial extraction technique. Although the implant is still healthy and the tooth restoration in good condition, you can see the bone volume has collapsed. Where if you look at the implant placed next door we placed using this technique. You can see the significant difference in gum and bone volume maintained.

Conventional implant placement versus Partial Extraction technique.

I have been performing this socket shield technique over the last 7 years for my patients with great success. Before your dentist jumps to removing your tooth its important to understand all your options out there !

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