Monday, July 6, 2015

Let’s Talk About Osseointegration

Osseointegration is what we’re talking about, but it can do more than earn you a pretty big score in Scrabble.  It can work wonders to bring your smile back!

This is a pretty simple word when it is broken down into its parts - Osseo is direct from the Greek word Osteon, meaning bone, and integration which we know means to combine with the existing structure.  

Accurately describing the process, Osseointegration is just that.  Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark pioneered the field during the 1960’s when he discovered that a metal screw (also known as the implant) inserted into the jawbone was accepted by the skeletal structure, allowing a false tooth to be permanently implanted. This discovery revolutionized oral health care as people could now turn to alternate corrections for missing teeth.

Natural teeth are made of two parts - the crown and the root.  The crown refers to the part of the tooth above the gum line while root refers to the part below the gum holding it in place much like the roots of a tree.  Osseointegration is referring to the metal which is integrated into the jaw to serve as an artificial root.

Brånemark found that not just any metal would be accepted into the jaw. The body would reject certain metals and treat them as a foreign invader.  Titanium is generally used for the anchor due to its strength and bio-compatibility (a fancy term meaning your body will not find any reason to reject this new addition).

The ‘integration’ part of the word comes from the fact that the bone grows around the implant to attach itself, making it permanent!  That’s right; the body will see this metal anchor as a part of its jawbone and actually strengthens the placement of the dental implant!

The term implant ‘dental implant’ can be broken down as well.  It typically consists of three parts:

  1. The implant itself, which is a titanium screw that is placed directly into the bone to anchor the tooth securely.
  2. The abutment sets directly on the implant to provide the crown further support, holding the crown in place.
  3. The crown that has the look, feel and function of the tooth it replaces while it is firmly mounted in place.
Osseointegration has led the way for several fields in reconstructive medicine, including facial reconstruction and internal hearing aids. The method is even used for joint and artificial limb replacement!If you would like to know more about dental implants or to find out if they will improve your oral health, please contact Lublin Dental Center and schedule a consultation with your Brooklyn dentist. 

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