Osseointegration is the natural healing that your body does following the placement of a dental implant. At Smiles of Tulsa, we work to take the preparatory steps to help encourage successful osseointegration before treatment. Success is a firm, stabilized implant that can then be used for a replacement tooth or prosthetic.
Osseointegration is a medical term used to describe bone repair. The root “osseo” refers to bone, and to integrate means to make two items into one. Bone repair is something that can occur anywhere throughout the skeleton. Modern medical advancements began in the early 1900’s following scientists observing this natural healing in the deceased from attempts to repair. What they observed is the bone material growing over materials that were embedded in the bone. Some observations included past people attempting to replace teeth with pieces of shell, bamboo, stone, and metal. Though these ancient patients most likely suffered from significant infection, what amazed scientists is observing bone growth up and around these foriegn objects. Over the following decades, they studied materials, biocompatibility, and healing. In the 1960’s successful dental implants began to be placed.
Today, in dentistry, we use this natural healing ability to place and set dental implants. A dental implant is a device that we embed into your jawbone to serve as a new tooth root where a tooth is missing. The implant is designed to appear similar to a screw, it has a threaded end that is placed in the bone, and a head to attach a prosthetic. As the bone heals, it grows up and around the threads of the implant fusing the tooth firmly together. This means that the patient has a stable new root system.
The key to successful osseointegration is in the preparation. There are several factors that we take into consideration including:
|Sufficient Bone Mass: The implant requires enough bone to be set in. When patients lose teeth, their bone responds immediately with atrophy or bone loss. We may need to bulk up this bone with a bone graft.
|Ability to Heal: There are multiple medications and medical conditions that can limit your ability to heal in a timely manner. We need to discuss your complete medical history prior to treatment, even if it seems irrelevant. There may be some changes you can make to increase your ability to heal.
|Treatment Plan: A key to successful treatment is creating a plan. This includes creating a precise map and may include multiple steps in preparation. We will want to reduce any infection that can disrupt the healing process and this can take time.
With a treatment plan in place and preparations made, we can then surgically place the implant. Your soft tissue will heal quickly, in a matter of days. Bone healing, or osseointegration, can take much longer. We will want to check the status over multiple months to see if the implant has become firm in your bone tissue. Once we have established stability, we can then move forward with the placement of your prosthetic device.