What does osseointegration consist of?
The osseointegration process is defined as a direct, structural and functional connection between living, ordered bone and the surface of an implant subjected to functional load. In other words, the process by which a solid union is produced between a dental implant and the patient’s natural bone. This healing is essential to ensure the success of dental implants.
The original term osseointegration was coined by the Swedish professor and physician Brånemark from his studies in 1952.
Why is it important for osseointegration to occur?
Osseointegration allows dental implants to be fixed to the maxilla or mandible. In addition, it facilitates the placement of a prosthesis, crown or bridge on the implant to replace missing teeth and restore a complete and natural smile.
What is the procedure?
The osseointegration process varies depending on the patient and his or her characteristics, but basically the following steps will be followed for it to take place:
- Checking the bone structure to see if there is bone resorption due to a missing tooth.
- Verification of the available space.
- Determine that there is no infection, and if so, proceed to clean the affected area and treat the infection.
- Study the size, position and type of implant.
- Consult the patient’s clinical history to determine if there is any aspect to be considered that prevents the procedure from being carried out. The patient’s medications, previous illnesses and possible allergies will be taken into account before making a decision.
- Once all the above steps have been passed, an appointment will be arranged with the patient to carry out the implant, after which the period for healing or osseointegration to take place will begin.
How long does osseointegration take?
The osseointegration process of an implant on the patient’s maxillary bone structure takes an average of three months, during which time the inserted piece integrates solidly with the bone. The healing process of the implant is not instantaneous.
It is after two months, when the implant begins to compact with the bone, this will depend on the bone quality of the person and other factors such as:
- The biocompatibility of the material.
- The treatment planning.
- The surgical technique used.
- Its design and adjustment.
- If there are no inflammatory and/or infectious processes.
- The correct quantity and quality of bone.
- Correct oral hygiene habits and the absence of bad habits, such as smoking. After an average of 3 months (between 3 and 6), healing is complete and the implant has a functionality practically identical to that of the root of a natural healthy tooth. Once the correct osseointegration has been confirmed, the definitive dental crown can be placed and the temporary crown can be replaced.
What guidelines should the patient follow afterwards?
There are a series of precautions that the patient must take into account for correct osseointegration. Despite the fact that dental implantology treatments have excellent results that support them, there are a series of habits and factors that can cause this process to fail.
Smoking has been shown to have a negative impact on implant osseointegration procedures by slowing down healing and increasing the risk of infections in the area.
- Previous diseases
Uncontrolled systemic diseases – such as diabetes – can be the cause of dental implants not integrating properly into the bone.
- Oral hygiene
If under normal conditions, poor or incorrect oral hygiene is synonymous with possible problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis, it is not difficult to imagine that, in implant osseointegration treatments, dental hygiene takes on greater relevance – if possible – since the aforementioned problems are joined by other more specific problems such as mucositis or peri-implantitis.