Dental Implant Osseointegration is a process in which jaw bone attaches directly to dental implants made of titanium, ceramic or polymeric material. After the dental implant is placed in the jaw, the bone grows up to and around the dental implant during the healing phase of dental implant treatment. The healing phase lasts up to 6 months depending on the dental implant system used. After the osseointegration period, the surface of the implant and the surface of the surrounding bone fuse together. The process can be compared to the mending of broken bones. Once a broken bone is set, over time it heals back together. The same kind of process is happening in dental implant osseintegartion, but instead of bone fusing to bone, bone is fusing to the implant.

Osseointegration and Dentistry

Dental Implants are now the most effective way to replace a missing tooth or a set of teeth. An Implant Dentist can replace a single tooth with a single dental implant, implant abutment and crown or restore a complete set of teeth with 4-6 dental implants and a full bridge attached to the dental implants, commonly referred to as All-on-6 or All-on-4 ™ dental implants.

A Little History on Osseointegration

Dental implants are arguably the biggest breakthrough to date in dentistry – but dental implants as we know them today were made possible through a discovery by Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark, an Swedish orthopedic surgeon in 1952.

Before dental implants, there was something called osseointegration, and without it, dental implants would not be possible. In 1952 Brånemark was conducting experiments using titanium metal implants in bone. At the end of the experiments, as Brånemark was attempting to remove the implants, he discovered that the titanium had integrated with the bone and it was difficult to separate the dental implant from the surrounding bone. For Brånemark this was an ‘Ah-ha’ moment.

Brånemark realized that if titanium fused to bone made the implants impossible to remove then implants could be placed in the jaw, in the form of dental implants, to support replacement teeth and other dental prosthesis. Brånemark placed the first titanium dental implants in a patient in 1965. That first dental implant patient, Gosta Larrson, had the dental implant for over 40 years.

Dispite Brånemark’s osseointegration discovery and successful dental implant placement in Larrson in 1965, it was not until 1983 at a conference in Toronto, Canada that osseointegration became internationally accepted.

Dental Implants Today

According to marketsandmarkets.com in their report, Global Dental Implants Market (2010 -2015), the global dental implant market with be worth an estimated $4.4 Billion by 2015. This is due to the acceptance of dental implants as an effective way to treat a single missing tooth or edentulism (cases where a person has no teeth and restoration of all missing teeth with dental implants and full dental bridges is possible and cost effective).

The cost of full dental implants in Thailand, for example, with 4 dental implants and hybrid bridge (All-on-4 tm) or 6 dental implants and hybrid bridge (All-on-6) is 350,000 Thai Baht ($11,175 AUD/ $11,335  USD / £7,205 GBP) per arch to 450,000 Thai Baht  ($14,365 AUD/ $14,575  USD / £9,265 GBP)  per arch respectively.

The cost of a single immediate dental implant in Thailand is 75,000 Thai Baht ($2,395 AUD/ $2,429 USD / £1,544 GBP).

Osseointegration is a biological process that takes place once the dental implant is placed in the jaw, it is not a treatment per se, so there is no additional dental treatment costs assiciated with Osseointegration.

Prices above are based on the current currency exchange on October 15, 2011.