When teeth are extracted, many dentists will place bone grafts at the time of the tooth removal to help maintain the existing bone so that an implant can be placed. If there has been destruction to parts of the bony walls of the tooth socket, a socket preservation may be required.
This more extensive approach is taken to isolate the socket and “rebuild” the walls to appropriate height and width using a barrier membrane. During this procedure, the gums surrounding the socket are separated from the bone to expose the remaining bone and a sheet of material is placed under the gum. This material comes in many forms but is used to prevent gum cells from making their way into the socket. This enables the slower-moving bone cells to grow and fill out the socket to an adequate dimension to receive an implant.