Sometimes a tooth is removed and a dental implant is not placed right away. Without a tooth, the jawbone usually shrinks. The result is often significant bone loss. This bone loss is not the person's fault, it's the natural resorption process that typically causes the bone deterioration. In order to have a dental implant and teeth at a later date, the person may need more bone to anchor the implant. There are several ways to reproduce the bone so that your jaw will be able to accept a dental implant. These are called bone grafting techniques. Socket grafting is bone added at the time of your tooth removal. The tooth will be removed and the bone grafting material will be placed in the hole left after removing the tooth for a 4-month healing process. The bone heals and the dental implant can then be placed. A tooth is then placed on the dental implant. For patients that have more bone missing a technique involving placing a block of bone in the area with missing bone works well. The block is shaped to the desired size and placed with titanium screws. They are left to heal for 4-5 months. When the bone heals there is plenty of bone for a dental implant. When it is not possible to use the block, a softer mix of the bone substitute is placed where the bone is missing and covered with a tarp called the membrane. This graft also grows bone. When the bones heal a dental implant is placed and allowed to heal and the final tooth is placed on it. Bone grafting procedures are safe the success keeps improving with new technology, still, they are not 100% successful and several efforts may be needed for success. The main complication that can happen is a failure to grow bone, infection, pain; all of these complications are usually easily controlled and treated with the appropriate antibiotic and pain medicine. The advantages far outweigh the risk of giving you new permanent teeth that should last you a lifetime.