When teeth are lost, the alveolar bone that previously housed them begins to dissolve away in a process called bone resorption. Depending on the rate of resorption, the remaining bone may be insufficient to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant. Even if the missing tooth is to be replaced with a fixed bridge, the prosthetic replacement tooth (pontic) may look artificially large if the bone and gum tissue (gingiva) have resorbed significantly. As a solution to this dilemma, we graft new bone onto the site. We refer this process to as site development, which refers to the fact that proper bony and gingival contours need to be re-established by performing a bone grafting procedure before ideal tooth replacement can be done.
Bony defects sometimes occur around teeth with multiple roots. We often treat such areas by guided tissue regeneration using GTR membrane along with bone graft. Bone grafting and GTR can re-establish the height (by a limited amount) and width of alveolar bone that has already been lost following removal of a tooth.