Alveolar ridge bone resorption is a biologic phenomenon that occurs following tooth extraction and cannot be prevented. This paper reviews the vertical and horizontal ridge dimensional changes that are associated with tooth extraction. It also provides an overview of the advantages of ridge preservation as well as grafting materials. A Medline search among English language papers was performed in March 2015 using alveolar ridge preservation, ridge augmentation, and various graft types as search terms. Additional papers were considered following the preliminary review of the initial search that were relevant to alveolar ridge preservation. The literature suggests that ridge preservation methods and augmentation techniques are available to minimize and restore available bone. Numerous grafting materials, such as autografts, allografts, xenografts, and alloplasts, currently are used for ridge preservation. Other materials, such as growth factors, also can be used to enhance biologic outcome.
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