Bone grafting or ridge augmentation is essentially a procedure to replace bone that has been lost. After a tooth is removed, the bone that supported that tooth begins to disappear as the body no longer needs it. The longer that a tooth has been missing, usually the more bone that has been lost. Because dental implants must be surrounded by bone, grafting is occasionally needed prior to dental implant placement. A variety of materials can be used to increase the volume of bone such as your bone, cadaver bone, animal bone and synthetic bone.