Osseointegration & Dental Implants
The history of dental implants is a fascinating one. While humankind had been aware of the procedure to introduce a dental implant into the mouth, we kept turning up empty handed and puzzled by the body’s tendency to consistently reject the implant. Chinese doctors were trying to insert dental implants with bamboo pegs, some 4,000 years ago, and archeologists found Mayan bones with evidence of a somewhat successful dental implant - comprised of shells - from 1,350 years ago. However, it wasn’t until the past 70 years, in 1952, did doctors successfully perform dental implant surgery on a patient with the body accepting the implant. This successful fusion of implant to bone is called osseointegration, and we here at Fairmount Dental Center are excited to finally perform dental implant surgery today thanks to the dental specialists of yore.
What is Osseointegration and Why Does it Matter?
Unlike dentures, which sit on the outside surface of your upper and lower arch, dental implants become a permanent fixture in your body. Most dental implants are comprised of three major components, which includes the post, the abutment, and the crown. The post is made of titanium, which is a key factor in the success of the implant fusing to your jawbone. The abutment attaches the post to the crown. Moreover, of course, there is the crown (also known as the restoration), which is the porcelain portion of the implant that resembles a natural tooth.
Getting a dental implant isn't like getting dentures. Getting dentures is fairly simple and straightforward and includes taking an impression of your mouth, then waiting for your dentures to return from the lab. If you had extractions performed before your dentures, you might have to wait until your gums heal, but that would be the extent of your waiting.
Getting implants is much more complex. We start by inserting the post into your jawbone surgically. The procedure involves using local anesthesia and making an incision into your gums. We will then secure the post into your bone. What makes this such an interesting procedure is the material of which your post is made, called titanium, and the role it plays in your implant’s success. In the past, despite knowing how to place an implant, we were unable to complete the procedure because the body kept rejecting the metal component. Finally, with the introduction of titanium, the body accepted the implant.
Now when we insert a dental implant, we have to wait for your existing bone to fuse with the titanium before we can move forward with attaching your restoration. When the bone and the titanium successfully fuse, that’s when we have osseointegration. In short, osseointegration is the process where the titanium post and the bone merge, making for a strong and sturdy foundation for your dental implant.
Dental implants are a great option for many people, giving them back their confidence when unwanted tooth loss made them feel ashamed and embarrassed. They look and feel natural and can last the rest of your life if you take good care of them. To learn more about dental implants, or to schedule an appointment at our office to determine if you’re a good candidate for them, please give us a call here at Fairmount Dental Center at (503) 967-0877 today.