Dental Implants and Osseointegration
Dental implants are a widely popular treatment for replacing missing teeth, and an option that we proudly offer at Beautiful Smiles. Dental implants consist of small titanium posts that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. These posts are then used to support your replacement teeth. Implants offer numerous benefits over traditional tooth loss solutions. To be successful, however, they need to fully integrate into the jawbone, in a process known as osseointegration.
Osseointegration is a natural process that occurs during your recovery following dental implant surgery. This is the process during which your natural bone fuses to the titanium posts, integrating them into the jaw. The process was discovered completely by accident in 1952 by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Bråenmark. While Bråenmark was researching bone healing and regeneration, he implanted a titanium cylinder into a rabbit femur. When he went to remove it later, he found that the bone had begun to fuse to the cylinder. This sparked further research and development, which eventually led to the very first modern day dental implants. Even today, research and development are still being done, helping to improve the reliability of dental implants and make the process of osseointegration easier.
Why is Bone Mass Important?
When you lose your teeth, your mouth goes through many changes. Obvious changes include those in your ability to eat, your ability to speak, and in the appearance of your smile. Losing your teeth also leads to the loss of bone mass in your jaw. The teeth are critical for maintaining jaw health and strength. When you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate the jawbone. This triggers your body to send essential nutrients that your jaw needs. Tooth loss lessens the amount of stimulation the jaw receives. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent, and bone begins to grow weak.
Dental implant candidates with too little bone mass in their jaw can have a significant impact on the ability of the implants to properly integrate into the jaw. Without enough bone mass, you lack the necessary support that dental implants require. This can result in implants that are loose or that do not integrate at all, both of which can lead to implant failure.
Thanks to continued research and development, there are still ways to make implants possible, even if you may lack the necessary amount of natural bone mass in your jaw. One way that implants are made possible is through a surgical procedure known as a bone graft. A bone graft takes bone from elsewhere in your body, or from a donor, and implants it into the weakened areas of your jaw, restoring strength. Another option, which can help you to avoid the need for a second surgery, is the All-on-4 treatment concept. This treatment is done if you are missing an entire arch of teeth and relies on four implants that are placed to make the most of the bone mass you still have remaining in your jaw.
Successful osseointegration turns the titanium posts into strong, stable roots that provide support for your new teeth. These new roots imitate the functions of the roots of your natural teeth, down to the stimulation of the jawbone. With stimulation restored, your body begins sending the necessary nutrients again, which aids in preventing the bone loss that accompanies tooth loss, helping to keep your jawbone strong and healthy.
When the titanium posts are fully integrated into your jaw, they provide strong, stable support for your new teeth. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Beautiful Smiles today at (530) 206-9211.