After tooth extraction, you always get what is called resorption of bone in the area. Resorption, due to the loss of the tooth, is when your body removes some of the surrounding bone resulting in less height and width of the bone compared to before the extraction. In addition, when bone resorbs the overlying gum tissue also has a tendency to loose volume and its normal shape. This occurs around any extracted tooth but especially around front teeth.
Socket preservation, also known as ridge preservation, is a form of bone grafting to minimize the effect of tooth extraction.
We use a fake bone material to fill in the space where the extracted tooth used to be. Sometimes, if the bony plate on the side towards your cheek is missing, we also have to place a membrane to encourage your gum tissue to grow into the area while the bone graft heals.
We also perform regular bone grafting and sinus lifts (LINK). If no socket preservation was performed at the time of extraction or if the tooth was extracted a long time ago, we might have to perform a separate bone grafting procedure to increase the width and height of your bone. We either use bone from your own body that we take from the opposite side of your jaw or we can use “fake” bone types that act as a scaffolding for your own natural bone to grow in.