Socket preservation or alveolar ridge preservation (ARP) is a procedure to reduce bone loss after tooth extraction to preserve the dental alveolus (tooth socket) in the alveolar bone. A platelet rich fibrin (PRF) membrane containing bone growth enhancing elements is placed in the wound or a bone grafting material or scaffold is placed in the socket of an extracted tooth at the time of extraction. The socket is then directly closed with stiches or covered with a non-resorbable or resorbable membrane and sutured.
After extraction, jaw bone has to be preserved to keep the socket in its original shape. Without socket preservation, the bone quickly resorbs resulting in 30-60% loss in bone volume in the six months after dental extraction. The jaw bone will never revert to its original shape once bone is lost and tissue contour has changed.
The human body reduces the amount of bone that is not sufficiently used with a daily stress; without the strain stimulus, the jaw bone behaves (with or without socket preservation) as if the space occupied by the tooth and periodontal ligament was empty.