Socket preservation is a procedure to reduce bone loss after tooth extraction. After tooth extraction, the jaw bone has a natural tendency to become narrow, and lose its original shape because the bone quickly resorbs, resulting in 30–60% loss in bone volume in the first six months. Bone loss, can compromise the ability to place a dental implant (to replace the tooth), or its aesthetics and functional ability.
Socket preservation attempts to prevent bone loss by bone grafting the socket immediately after extraction. With the procedure, the gum is retracted, the tooth is extracted, material (usually a bone substitute) is placed in the tooth socket, it is covered with a barrier membrane, and sutured closed for healing to begin. Roughly 30 days after socket preservation, the barrier membrane is either removed, or it resorbs, and the callous of bone covers with new tissue.
While there is good evidence that socket preservation prevents bone loss, there is no definitive proof that this leads to higher implants success or long-term health.