The vast majority of dental implants are successful, with 98% of implants that remain strong and secure in the jaw. While this is true, you want to be sure that you do everything in your power to ensure proper healing. Tissue healing occurs first and then the bone starts to build new cells. Bone healing takes much longer than basic tissue healing, and the process of bone healing is called osseointegration. Osseointegration problems commonly lead to overall implant failure. If you want to understand what osseointegration is and how you can make sure that the process advances without issue, keep reading.
What Is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration occurs when the living bone tissues in your body bond or adhere to an implant device. The process occurs whether you receive a knee replacement, artificial limb, or a dental implant. During osseointegration, bone cells grow and connect to the implant device. This creates a structural connection where the bone and the implant merge into a single entity. When this happens, the implant becomes a load bearing device that can withstand as much pressure and stress as the surrounding bone.
Osseointegration does not occur in response to the implant, but it happens as the bone heals and fills in space close to the implant device. The implant is not identified as a foreign object, so the bone grows as if the implant is another bone or a piece of soft tissue. The same sort of healing occurs after a bone break.
Bone growth is often slow since bone matter is dense with a great deal of minerals packed into a small space. New bone will attach to old bone and fill in the space around the dental implant over the course of several months. It can take between two and six months for bone cells to fully develop and form around the implant device. The cells are quite fragile as they start to develop, and even small amounts of pressure can break the bone away from the implant. The result is a loose device that may not fully integrate with the bone.
How Does Failed Osseointegration Occur?
When osseointegration fails, your implant device will be loose. As the implant moves around in the tooth socket, the bone becomes stressed and more tissues may be lost. The implant can loosen more and more until the device needs to be completely removed. This is a common occurrence if the initial osseointegration process is interrupted.
There are many things that can cause osseointegration failure. Biting hard on the top of the implant can break the root free from the bone tissue. It is wise to eat soft foods that require little chewing, biting, and grinding until your dentist tells you that the osseointegration process is complete. You will usually receive a permanent dental crown at this time, so this is a good sign that you can use your implant tooth normally.
Poor bone density can lead to osseointegration issues as well. Bone density is linked to the mineral content of the bone and the amount of nutrients that can be packed around the root device. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and selenium are required to build bone tissue. While you may need to eat a soft diet, the foods you consume should also be rich in mineral content to make sure the body can build dense tissue.
Trauma to the implant area can result in failed osseointegration as well. Not only will force break away the forming bone tissue, but force can cause swelling. Swollen tissues can disrupt the healing process and stop the bone tissue from forming new tissues. Stay away from sports activities until your dental implant has fully healed and also wear footwear with solid rubber soles so you do not slip, fall, and accidentally hit your face.
For more information, contact a dentist, such as Dale Lentz.