What Is Osseointegration With Dental Implants And Why Is It So Important?

Dental implants are one of the most popular dental products used to replace missing teeth. They consist of three main parts, and one of the most important parts is the implant, which is placed into the jawbone. This is the first step in the process of getting a dental implant, and the success of your implant will rely on the osseointegration process. Here are three things to know about this.

What Is Osseointegration?

Osseointegration is the process that involves your jawbone growing on and around the titanium implant the dentist will insert in your mouth. This implant is what holds the abutment and crown in place. After the implant is placed in your mouth, the dentist will wait for a period of time to allow the osseointegration process to occur.

As this occurs, your jawbone will actually fuse to the implant causing these two separate things to become one. This process can take several months at the minimum, but there are times it can take even longer than this.

Your dentist might suggest coming back every few months to have the implant checked. This may require getting x-rays because of the location of the implant. When the dentist believes the bone and implant have fused together properly, you will be ready to have the next step completed.

What Prevents Osseointegration From Occurring?

The process of fusing your bone with an implant is not something that happens overnight. For some people this process can occur quickly, though, but it can take a long time for others. Your health and habits are big factors in the speed of the process. For example, smoking is a habit that slows the process down. When you smoke, the oxygen level in your body decreases, and this makes the healing process slower. If you smoke, your dentist might recommend stopping several months before the process of putting in the implant.

Diabetes is another health condition that can interfere with the osseointegration process. People with diabetes also have a harder time healing from injuries, which means the osseointegration process can be much slower in people with diabetes. When injuries heal too slowly, it can open up problems for infection to develop.

Why Is Osseointegration So Important?

The success of a dental implant relies on several things, including the ability of the implant and jawbone to fuse together. The implant is what holds the crown (artificial tooth) in place. If the implant is not completely locked in place, it may end up loosening over time. If this happens, it could come loose and fall out. This is something dentists try to avoid by waiting long enough for the fusing to take place.

Because of this importance, a dentist will take x-rays before installing an implant in your jawbone. If the x-rays reveal that your jawbone is not thick enough to support an implant, you will have two options:

  1. Choose a different type of tooth replacement, such as a dental bridge
  2. Go through a bone-grafting process

Bone grafting is done to add additional jawbone to your mouth. If you need to have this completed, you will have to wait additional time for the grafting to take root. This too requires osseointegration, but it is the fusing of the additional bone to your existing bone instead of fusing of the implant to your jawbone. After this is done, the dentist will need to examine your jawbone before inserting the implant to make sure it is sufficient.

Dental implants are a great option if you have missing teeth, and you can find out if you are a good candidate for this procedure by contacting a dentist in your area that offers dental implants, such as Bruce Mathes DDS.