One appeal that patients in Palm Beach Gardens, FL find in dental implants is their permanence. While part of that reason is due to the implant being embedded into the jaw, the second part relies on a fusion process known commonly as osseointegration. As a patient interested in dental implants, you may be asking yourself what exactly is osseointegration? And how does it benefit my oral health?
At PGA Dentistry, we believe in keeping our patients well-informed about the treatments and procedures they are about to receive. Below we’ve listed some general information about osseointegration and how it works.
How Does It Work?
The first piece of the dental implant is called the titanium implant or screw. Shaped like a screw, it’s embedded into the jawbone where your missing tooth once was. After this first implantation, the titanium fixture is left alone for a few months for osseointegration to begin taking place. It’s not an instantaneous effect.
When a foreign object is inserted into your body, let’s say a wooden splinter, for example, the body will work to expel the foreign object. In most cases, the wooden splinter would eventually be pushed out over time. The material titanium has been found to be biocompatible with human bone and tissues, which is why you can find this metal in almost every tool and prosthetic used in medical surgeries. So, when the titanium implant is embedded into the bone, the bone instead accepts it as a viable material instead of rejecting it. It begins to weave fibers around the implant, locking it into place within the jawbone. It’s a pretty solid bond, much like how the rest of your natural teeth are bonded to your bone.
Throughout your dental implant treatment, osseointegration will slowly take place to ensure that your dental implant stays in place. With proper care and maintenance, the implant could very well last a lifetime.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants last as long as they do thanks to osseointegration, but also gain many advantages similar to your natural teeth. For example, when comparing implants to dentures, studies have shown that certain dentures only had half the bite strength of a normal set of teeth. Patients had to slightly alter the preparation of their food so that it would be soft enough to eat.
With dental implants, it’s quite the opposite. As a dental implant is held firm by osseointegration, it acts much like one of your natural teeth. Therefore, when you want to eat your favorite foods there’s no lack of strength preventing you from enjoying them. Whether it’s crunchy, tough, or sticky, your dental implant can last through these foods with the proper care and maintenance, as you would treat the rest of your teeth.
While it doesn’t often happen, sometimes dentures can slip out during eating or talking. When it happens during a social situation, it could feel embarrassing. Dental implants are firmly secured through osseointegration instead, leaving little to no risk of the implant ever falling out.
The Discovery of Osseointegration
The father of modern dental implants is Per-Ingvar Brånemark, who stumbled upon osseointegration with titanium during a study on titanium screws in small animal bones. He and his team noticed that after 6 weeks, the screw was difficult to remove, and by the end of 16 weeks, the screw was nearly impossible to remove from the bone.
With this new discovery, he coined the name “osseointegration,” and applied the knowledge to the field of dentistry, more specifically to the then-declining field of dental implants. After some convincing of this new discovery and its application to dental implants, it was soon embraced by the dental community and became the new standard for future advancements in the field.