According to the American College of Prosthodontics, roughly 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth and 40 million Americans are completely edentulous. Dental implants are the most effective, comfortable, and natural-looking teeth replacement devices.
At Cassity & Legacy Implants and Periodontics, Dr. Cassity and Dr. Badger can help you understand how dental implants work and why they provide a very solid foundation for your replacement teeth.
The process through which a dental implant becomes firmly anchored to the jaw is known as osseointegration. It plays a key role in facial reconstruction procedures as well as joint replacement and repair of bone fractures.
Osseointegration comes from a combination of Greek words “osteon” which means “bone” and “integrare” which means to “make whole.”
During a dental implant procedure, we will make a small hole in an empty tooth socket and place the titanium dental implant as a replacement root inside your jaw. Titanium is a biocompatible metal that can fuse easily with the bone providing a tight-knit contact of the implant with the jaw.
The process of osseointegration starts as soon as you create the hole in the jaw since it will cause rupturing of minor blood vessels, starting the natural response of healing. During the process, the cells of the jawbone will grow up around the prosthetic device and firmly anchor it to the jaw. Depending on the health of your jaw, this process can take anywhere between six weeks and six months.
Once osseointegration has been completed, the dental implant will be able to receive considerable force from the jaw without dislodging and will become fully functional.
Although nothing can be as good as your real teeth, a dental implant is the next best thing since they look and function almost as effectively as natural teeth, do not require any special maintenance, and can last for about 25 years with good care.
Osseointegration and Preservation of Jawbone
When a person loses a tooth, the bone underneath that space is quickly lost due to lack of stimulation. In a single year, you may lose as much as 25% of the bone mass in that area. As a result, your jawbone will grow soft and your facial structure will also collapse, reducing the esthetics of your face as well as the functions of your mouth.
Once the dental implants are firmly integrated with your jaw, they will continuously serve to maintain the healthy bone density of your jaw. These dental implants enable effective chewing and biting functions which stimulate the jaw and allow the jawbone to develop and remain healthy as long as the prosthetics are in place.
Impact of Jawbone Health on Osseointegration
People who have low jawbone density because of tooth loss, trauma, infection, or any other reason may not have enough bone mass to securely anchor dental implants. If a dental implant is placed in a soft jawbone, osseointegration will not take place effectively, resulting in dental implant failure.
However, this doesn’t mean that people who have low jawbone quality and quantity cannot get dental implants. With a simple, minimally-invasive bone grafting surgery, we can augment the bone in your jaw so that it becomes strong and healthy enough to support a dental implant.
In addition, osseointegration is also affected by certain lifestyle habits like smoking. People who are habitual smokers will need to quit during the span of their dental implant surgery since smoking reduces blood flow and prevents the formation of healthy bone. Instead, your jaw will develop soft fibrous tissue which is not strong enough to support dental implants.
Therefore, it is essential that you practice good oral and lifestyle habits during and after you have had your dental implant surgery.
Schedule an Appointment With Us
The success rate of dental implants is between 88% to 98%, depending on the location of the jaw and how well osseointegration has been achieved. With good care, dental implants can last for over 25 years, which means they can be a permanent, one-time, tooth replacement option.
If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at South Ogden: (385) 626-0977 Kaysville: (385) 439-0101 and we will find out whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.