What Is Osseointegration For Implants?
Dental implants have come a long way since their early beginnings in 600 AD. Today, they are made of titanium, compatible with human tissue and bone. Thanks to advances in dental materials and technology, dental implants can now support single teeth, bridges, and even dentures.
At Brea Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry we customize your dental replacement, specific to each patient, be it a dental implant to bridge or implant-supported dentures. Before we can make your dental prosthesis, we will perform a complete dental exam and take dental X-rays to create a dental impression of your teeth. We work with a dental lab that can then use the impression to produce your custom dentures.
History of Dental Implants
Dental implants have undergone many changes from their invention to today's modern implants. Today, dental implants are considered the gold standard for tooth replacement.
The earliest dental implants were discovered in Mayan ruins dating back to 600 AD. These implants were made of bone that was grafted onto the jawbone.
However, there is no record of this procedure being performed for cosmetic reasons; it was most likely done for medical purposes such as restoring chewing function.
Fast forward a few hundred years to the late 19th century, when we see the first attempt at using artificial materials for dental implants. In 1898, a dentist named Dr. Paul Wideruk attempted to use ivory to replace a tooth root, but unfortunately, the patient's immune system rejected the foreign material. In 1952, another dentist named Dr. P.I. Branemark placed an experimental titanium implant in a patient's jaw and successfully removed it after several months with no damage to the surrounding tissue, laying the groundwork for modern dental implants as we know them today.
What is Osseointegration?
Early on attempts at dental implants had the correct idea, they just needed to find the right material. Titanium is most popularly used for dental implants because it is biocompatible, meaning that it is compatible with living tissue, in this case, the gums and jawbone. Titanium will not cause any harm to the body. Zirconia is another material that is often used for dental implants.
After your teeth and jaw have been examined and x-rays taken, we can get you scheduled for dental implant surgery. You will receive local and general anesthetic before the surgery begins. Our oral surgeon can then make an incision in your gum and jawbone. They will create a hole in your jawbone where the implant can then be placed. After placing each of the dental implants, our oral surgeon will close the incision. Your implants can then fuse with the jawbone over the next few months.
This fusing of the dental implant with the jawbone is what is known as osseointegration. It can take several months for your jawbone to fully heal from the dental implant surgery. Osseointegration will provide the stability the implant needs, to become a permanent tooth replacement.
How Long is the Recovery Process for Implants?
Before a person decides to opt for dental implants, one of the most common concerns they have is the recovery process. For obvious reasons, patients would like to return to their normal routine and not worry about recovery time.
The answer to this question is complex because there is a large interindividual variability in recovery times. For starters, the recovery time is largely dictated by several factors, including the type of dental implant surgery that the patient is undergoing.
Age plays a major role in recovery time. As a general rule, younger patients have a faster recovery time after dental implant surgery when compared to older patients who have the same surgery. With that said, older patients who take good care of their dental hygiene could certainly recover faster than younger patients who don't follow post-op instructions.
General Health of the Patient
The patient's overall health, including their dental hygiene, plays a major role in the healing process. Several factors impact the patient's ability to recover, including their smoking history and if they have diabetes. Patients who smoke are more likely to have delayed wound healing and are at a higher risk of infections.
The healing process can be improved by quitting smoking and keeping the blood glucose well controlled.
Commitment to Post-Op Instructions
Patients who are fully committed to the recovery process have the best chance of improving their healing time. This would require them to follow their dentist's post-op instructions as closely as possible. Whether this requires making certain lifestyle changes, such as diet modifications or smoking cessation, patients who are committed to post-op instructions can recover more quickly.
It is also important for patients to manage their mental health after surgery. Depression and stress after dental surgery are not uncommon and can increase recovery times. Make sure to follow post-op instructions to get the full benefits of dental implants.
What if My Jawbone is Not Strong Enough for Dental Implants?
Dental x-rays let our oral surgeon determine the strength of your jawbone and decide if it can handle dental implants. If it cannot, we have several options to strengthen your jawbone.
For instance, we can provide a sinus lift or augmentation, which raises the sinus floor so that we can increase the amount of upper jawbone tissue available. Ridge modification is also available. This is a procedure that uses a bone graft to regenerate sections of your jaw.
We can also use subperiosteal implants, which do not need to be inserted into the bone. These are less preferable because they are not as stable.
Mini dental implants are also used for those who may have less jawbone density. They are the same as traditional dental implants, just smaller and require less jawbone to place them in.
Ready for Dental Implants?
If you're considering dental implants as an option for replacing missing teeth, be sure to contact our Brea Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry office today to schedule a consultation. We will work with you to determine if this treatment is right for you and help you get started on the path to a healthy, confident smile. Call us today at (657) 341-0808 to schedule your appointment.