The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue.
The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate over time because, without the tooth in place, there is no longer any stimulation for bone maintenance.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement, or for aesthetic purposes.
Dental implants require bone to support their structure and when there is insufficient bone, an implant cannot be placed successfully.