What is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration comes from the Latin words osseus (meaning bony) and integrare (meaning to make whole) and is a process where living bone becomes connected with an artificial implant. The immune system is designed to reject harmful substances from the body. For this reason, dental implants need a substance that will not cause the body to react negatively, as if it’s fighting off an infection. In other words, we need to place a biocompatible material.
What is Biocompatibility?
The next big word, biocompatibility, denotes the ability of a given material to bond and cooperate with a biological organism. Biocompatible materials do not cause a toxic response when they are exposed to the human body or bodily fluids. This makes them safe to use. Dental implant posts are made from biocompatible materials such as titanium or zirconium, which bond with the jaw bone.
How do Dental Implants Work?
A dental implant is made from a titanium post, an abutment, and a crown. The post is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. The crown does what a tooth does, allowing you to eat and speak the way you normally would, and the abutment safely connects the crown to the post.
Most dental implant cases require three appointments, not counting the initial consultation. In the first appointment, the titanium posts are surgically inserted into the jaw bone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. If the implant is in the aesthetic zone, then there are various temporary options available while the implant heals.
While your bone and gums heal from implant surgery, osseointegration will occur between the post and the jaw bone. The process takes several months, but once it is complete and stability testing has been performed by the oral surgeon, we will summon you back to the office for the second appointment to take an impression of the implant. This impression will be sent to the lab for fabrication of the abutment and crown. In some cases, and instead of an impression, a digital scan can be performed by the oral surgeon.
The third and final appointment consists of securely attaching the abutment and crown to the implant.
Candidates for Dental Implants
Dental implants are popular because they’re effective, but not everyone qualifies as a candidate. A candidate must have good health in general and good oral health in particular. Smoking greatly increases the chance of implant failure. If you smoke, you will need to quit for the duration of the implant procedure.
Another factor is bone mass. You will need to have enough bone mass in your jaw, and it needs to have adequate strength. Otherwise, it can’t support a dental implant. Patients with inadequate bone mass can receive bone grafts from supplying the bone they need. In a graft, bone is taken from the patient’s own body, that of a donor or even a cow. This bone is inserted into the jaw to encourage the growth of healthy bone.
If you do not qualify for dental implants, Dr. Dose will work with you to determine an alternative treatment.
Are you interested in learning more about the osseointegration process? Give us a call at (503) 647-4565. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!