What Is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration is an important term in dental implants. When titanium implants are placed within the jawbone, the bone begins to integrate the metal into it. This process is osseointegration, and it’s vital to successful implanting. This process does not just happen in the mouth, of course—it occurs anywhere where a prosthetic, pin or another type of foreign object is placed within the body. Without osseointegration, it’s likely that many of the processes done today that involve implanting something into the body would not be possible.
When Was Osseointegration Discovered?
While the human body has always been capable of osseointegration, it was not until 1952 that the property was studied and documented. Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish scientist, experimented with using titanium implants on rabbit bone. He built his study upon observations made by RT Bothe, KE Beaton, and HA Davenport, three researchers who were the first to implant titanium into bone. They noted that the titanium had fused with the animal bone.
Branemark carefully studied how the titanium implants fused with the rabbit bone. He had planned on removing the implants at the end of the study, but when he tried, he discovered that it wasn’t possible. The implant was fully integrated into the bone. He called this osseointegration, a combination of the Greek term osteon (bone) and the Latin word integrate (to make whole). Branemark immediately saw the potential for human implants.
Use in Dental Implants
In the mid-1960s, dental surgeons began making use of osseointegration. Branemark was the first person to implant titanium into a person’s mouth. He created a special implant to support the palatal obturator, correcting a cleft palate defect. The implant continued to function until the patient’s death in 2005. Later, Branemark worked with the company Bofors to create dental implants that could be used by dentists around the world. Bofors later created an offshoot company, Nobel Pharma, that focused exclusively on dental implants. Today, this company is known as Nobel Biocare, one of the leaders in dental equipment.
The Benefits of Osseointegration
By making use of osseointegration, doctors and dentists can significantly improve the quality of life of amputees and those who need replacement teeth. Since the bone fuses so completely to the titanium, it creates an incredibly strong and durable prosthesis. This can allow those who have lost a limb to have better joint movement, stability, and functionality. The prosthesis is attached directly to the bone, making it feel like a part of the body.
In dentistry, osseointegration allows for the creation of durable, long-lasting implanted replacement teeth that feel much more natural than dentures. These teeth are permanent, and there’s no need to remove them for cleaning or to sleep. They fit better than dentures, too, and have far fewer issues for patients.
While Branemark had to argue for years to convince others that osseointegration could be harnessed for many innovative treatments, today he is recognized as discovering a process that has helped improve the quality of life for many.
Want to know how osseointegration and dental implants can help improve your life? Call us today at (844) 281-6446 to make an appointment.