After a tooth is removed from the jaw, the alveolar bony ridge that contained and supported the tooth no longer receives stimulation from chewing forces and starts to atrophy. Staying true to the “use it or lose it” concept, both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the bony ridge shrink rapidly and significantly after tooth removal. This makes the future placement of a dental implant substantially more difficult. Think of it this way: you are trying to build a house (implant), but there is no sufficient foundation (bony ridge dimension) to support the structure. Not only will construction become more difficult and unpredictable, but the long-term stability of the structure will also be compromised. Additionally, prolonged bone loss often gives rise to aesthetic compromises, as the bony ridge may cave in and form a divot.
By filling the void of the extraction socket with bone graft material, an inner scaffold is created to allow the bony ridge to heal without significant reduction in dimensions. Although this won’t halt all bone loss, it may slow it down substantially to allow a solid and aesthetic foundation for placement of future implants.