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Osseointegration and Dental Implants
Seattle, WA


A woman smiling after receiving dental implants at Pacific Modern Dentistry in Seattle, WAWhen a dental implant is inserted, your body naturally reacts to its presence through a process known as osseointegration. Derived from the Greek and Latin terms for “bone” and “to make whole”, this anatomical function is what allows dental implants to become a permanent part of a patient’s jaw.

While most commonly associated with oral implant treatments, osseointegration also occurs during other restorative and reconstructive procedures such as joint replacements, facial reconstructions, and healing from a bone fracture. Because patients often know so little about osseointegration, if they’ve heard of the term at all, we at Pacific Modern Dentistry take pride in educating you about the process and in what ways you benefit from it. If you or a loved one are considering getting a dental implant and have any questions on osseointegration, please call us at (206) 607-9822.

Why Should I Get a Dental Implant?


•  An implant looks and feels like your natural teeth.
•  Implants essentially carry out the same basic functions as real teeth (speaking, eating, chewing).
•  An implant is just as easy to brush and floss as natural teeth.
•  Healthy adjacent teeth do not have to be filed down to support your missing tooth or teeth, meaning they’re less likely to require root fillings.
•  The implant’s presence maintains your bone structure beneath the tooth being replaced, as pressure from chewing is distributed evenly through the implant to the bone and stimulates your body’s natural process of bone renewal. This helps to preserve your beautiful smile’s appearance.
•  An implant can provide removable dentures with a firm grip.
•  Implants eliminate the need for special glues or adhesives to hold your artificial teeth in position, as would be the case with some dentures.

How Does Osseointegration Work?


As said, a dental implant is an artificial replacement for missing teeth built to resemble the genuine article as closely as possible. While a real tooth is made up of a crown and supporting root, implants consist of a crown (Porcelain, metal, etc) modeled off of your natural chompers connected to the implant supporting it with a screw-like object called an abutment.

Typically constructed from titanium, the implant is inserted directly into the bone with a number of microscopic holes on the surface that help osteoblasts (cells that secrete the matrix for bone formation) and connective tissue integrate it into your jaw. Once the tissue connects with the implant, its risk of coming loose or falling out is eliminated.

During the recovery process, the titanium surface fuses with the surrounding bone, which can take about three-six months, until the abutment and crown are affixed. At that point, the implant is stable enough to support one or multiple artificial teeth. This process is what we call osseointegration.

When Does Osseointegration Not Work?


Unfortunately, not everybody’s problems with missing teeth can be solved with an implant. In certain cases, there are circumstances where dental implant therapy may not be possible and therefore not suitable for the patient. These are usually situations where some kind of health-related obstacle or complication prevents osseointegration from completing itself. The causes of this include when:

•  The jawbone or mandible is not sufficiently thick enough to accomodate implants and bone grafting is not possible.
•  The patient has an untreated periodontal (gum) disease or uncontrolled diabetes (either introduces risk of failure due to infection or poor healing).
•  Blood clotting disorders.
•  Certain bone diseases.
•  Immune system deficiencies.
•  Severe systemic illnesses.
•  Drug abuse.
•  Smoking, because smokers heal less effectively than non-smokers. Thus, their implants are more likely to loosen from lack of tissue connectivity.

Remember, if you or a loved one are interested in a dental implant or want to know more about osseointegration, call Pacific Modern Dentistry at (206) 607-9822 to schedule a visit.
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