Traditional Dental Implant Osseo-Integration Process
Dental implants are widely regarded, by most patients and dentists alike, as the best solution for missing teeth. The reasons are many. Some of the most common include stability, improved chewing efficiency, and preservation of the jawbone. Many of our patients, who come from Edmond, Yukon, and other Oklahoma City area communities, ask why implants have such amazing properties. The vast majority of the benefits of dental implants can be attributed to a physiological process called osseointegration.
What is osseointegration?
In most cases, the human body does not accept foreign materials well. A living bone will fuse with bone tissue, but it reacts to most metals and other substances differently. If it does heal, it develops a layer of fibrous tissue between the object and the bone, preventing a strong bond from forming. For many years, this problem prevented successful dental implants. Over time, they would loosen and fail. In the 1950s, a discovery was made that would change dentistry forever.
It was discovered that bone tissue did not respond to titanium as it did to most materials. Instead, it accepted titanium as if were bone tissue. New bone cells form and attach themselves directly to the surface of a titanium implant without fibrous tissue, creating a bond as strong as bone. This process was named osseointegration, a word derived from integrare, a Latin word meaning “to make whole,” and osteon, a Greek word meaning “bone”.
What does it mean to you?
A dental implant functions as an artificial tooth root. It is surgically placed in the jawbone and, due to the properties of osseointegration; your body accepts it like a natural root. Therefore, crowns, bridges, or dentures that are attached to implants have the same stable foundation that a real tooth has. There is no slipping, sliding, or wobbling, no matter what you eat or how hard you laugh.
When you bite down, the pressure against the prosthetic teeth is transferred to the implant and therefore the bone. This is not painful or uncomfortable. Just the opposite – this is the feeling we are accustomed to, as teeth transfer pressure to the bone via the root. Many patients say that they’ve forgotten they have artificial teeth, because implants feel so natural. While you might expect this action to strain the bone tissue, it is actually essential for bone health. Just as muscles lose mass and strength when not in use, the jawbone begins deteriorating if it does not have stimulation from either a tooth root or an implant.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Rykard call us at (405) 896-6919.