Osseointegration in Denture Stabilisation

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In essence, osseointegration is the process by which a titanium dental implant fuses with the jawbone. This phenomenon is one that has revolutionised implant surgery and other areas of medicine like joint and bone replacements.

While the process is extremely important, its mechanism remains the subject of some debate. One theory with a number of strong proponents states that a form of titanium in the implant, titanium oxide, reacts with the bone surrounding an implant to form a permanent fusion. Another theory is that a special bonding ligament is formed as an implant osseointegrates, and this is supported by the evidence that shows the presence of collagen fibres between an implant and the bone around it. Regardless of how this process works, it has proven to be a critical part of the development of successful and lasting dental implants.

The implant procedure is designed to make use of osseointegration. Most procedures will involve an incision being made into the gum, through which access to the underlying jawbone is granted. A specialist drill is used to create a niche into which an implant is then inserted. The gum is then sealed through sutures, and the implant sites left for a period of about 6 months, during which tissues are left to repair and an implant is left to integrate into the surrounding bone.

One of the criteria through which the success of a dental implant procedure is assessed is osseointegration. If an implant has not sufficiently fused with the bone around it, in many cases the surgery will be considered a failure.

What is the importance of osseointegration in dental implant procedures?

As mentioned previously in this article, osseointegration is a critical part of modern dental implant procedures. This is because of the extraordinary strength and stability supplied to an implant, and therefore any artificial teeth affixed to it, through this integration. When a dental implant fuses with the surrounding jawbone, it becomes much more like the roots underlying our natural teeth. These are important structural elements which contribute to the stability and health of our teeth, and implants mimic these roots in this respect.

Dental implants allow for improved bite strength and stability, which means that people who have these installed can take advantage of a broader range of foods. Traditional dentures (those without implants) carry with them certain dietary restrictions as they don’t handle particularly solid or chewy foods well. Osseointegration is one of the factors responsible for the improved functionality of dentures in this respect.

Successful osseointegration can also have long term benefits on the health and density of the jawbone. One of the lesser known consequences of tooth loss is a resulting degeneration of the jawbone. In the absence of a tooth, the jawbone undergoes a process called resorption, which is where certain pathways are activated which ultimately results in the absorption of sections of bone back into the rest of the body. Fused dental implants effectively signal to the surrounding bone when dentures or crowns are attached and used in chewing and biting actions, and this signal indicates that the bone is being used and prevents any resorption from occurring.

What are the implications of osseointegration in dental implant procedures?

Osseointegration is taken into account when scheduling and planning dental implant procedures, and any subsequent installation of prosthetic teeth. As mentioned above, a six month recovery period usually follows the insertion of implants to allow for a successful fusion with the jawbone.

Osseointegration does carry with it some other implications when it comes to a person’s ability to make use of dental implants. A certain amount of jawbone is needed for implants to be installed and to form a stable fusion with the surrounding bone, and if a person has lost some jawbone through the loss of teeth or some other reason, they may not be able to have dental implants fitted. There are certain types of implants that can be used on people with diminished jawbones, however this consideration is an important one that can determine both whether a person can or can’t have the surgery, and how successful the surgery can be if performed.

In summary osseointegration is a process that is responsible for many of the benefits dental implants can offer a patient, and while it can restrict access to implants in some cases, osseointegration has proven an invaluable phenomenon in the medical world.

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