Dental Implants and Osseointegration
At Kooning Family Dentistry, we understand that losing your teeth can be physically painful, socially frustrating, and make the simplest things in life seem overly complicated. When you lose teeth, your quality of life is dramatically impacted. Certain foods become harder to eat, you become more self-aware of the appearance of your smile, and the shape of your face can even start to change. One of the things that very few people take into account that accompanies tooth loss is the deterioration of bone in the jaw. Fortunately, we have a way to restore the bone in your jaw to adequate levels with dental implants.
How toothloss affects your oral healthWhen you lose a tooth, the bone in your jaw ceases receiving critical feedback that it needs to stay healthy. When a part of your body stops being used, it will atrophy and begin to recede or become weak. The roots of your teeth regularly interact with the bone in your jaw while you eat, speak, and hold your jaw closed throughout the day. When the tooth is lost, the root stops interacting with the bone in your jaw and that bone will eventually begin to recede.
How dental implants add oral health valueDental implants are unique in their ability to replace teeth because they replace the whole tooth from root to crown. The dental implant post is made of titanium and is surgically placed into the bone of the jaw. After it is placed in the jaw, the implant post is left to heal, during which time it will heal, and the process of osseointegration will occur.
What is osseointegration?Osseointegration is the process that describes the bone in your jaw accepting and growing around the implant post. The dental implant post is made of titanium, which is a biocompatible metal. When something is biocompatible, the means that the body accepts it. While the bone in your jaw heals around the titanium implant post, it forms strong bonds with the post. Osseointegration is critical to the success of your dental implants. Dental implants rely on the implant posts having a strong mechanical bond with the bone in your jaw so that the implant can act just like the real teeth that you are replacing.
How long does osseointegration take?Osseointegration is not a particularly fast process and can vary greatly from patient to patient. Consider other procedures where the bone has to heal, such as when someone breaks their arm – it can take many months of staying in a cast for a broken arm to heal. Fortunately, dental implants don’t have nearly as much healing to do as a broken arm and generally can heal faster than larger bones. The osseointegration process can take anywhere from a month or two to six months or more. Healing time depends on the state of your oral health and your strict adherence to post-surgery instructions.
Things like tobacco use, smoking, alcohol use, and care given to the surgery site all play a big role in the osseointegration process. Tobacco use is closely associated with dental implant failure and the slowing of the healing process, so we always recommend that anyone who is interested in receiving dental implants quit smoking.
Schedule your dental implant consultationAre you ready to replace your missing tooth with a permanent solution? Give us a call at (503) 673-9097 to schedule your no-obligation dental implant consultation at our Lake Oswego dental office and find out if you are a candidate for implants. We are looking forward to meeting you, reviewing your unique situation, and coming up with a plan that's right for you and your teeth.