There are a handful of materials we use in our office to perform periodontal, dental implant, bone grafting, laser and oral surgery procedures.
In general, a dental implant is made of three components: implant screw, implant abutment and implant crown. Implant screws shape like the root portion of natural teeth and are inserted inside the jaw bone to support the implant crowns via implant abutments. The term osseointegration refers to the process by which implant screw integrates intimately to the jaw bone.
Dental implants are made of titanium alloy that is very biologically compatible to the human body. It is very unlikely that an individual would develop immunological rejection to titanium dental implant. Recently, some implant companies have developed dental implant screws made of zirconia which is also very compatible to human body. The main benefits of zirconia implant screws is its white color which may provide better esthetics in certain situations.
Bone Grafting Materials
Bone grafting materials act as matrices that allow the bone cells in our human body to migrate and exert their functions. Given that our body is constantly metabolizing old bone and depositing new bone, the bone grafting materials placed at the surgical sites will ultimately be metabolized by the body while the body will grow new bone (patient’s own bone) at the grafted area. However, without the placement of these bone grafting materials, the body will not produce new bone because bone cells have no scaffolds onto which they can migrate and exert their functions.
Commonly used bone grafting materials are as follows:
- Allografts (derived from another individual)
- Xenografts (derived from either bovines or equines)
- Autografts (derived from the patient him/herself )
- Alloplasts (synthetic bone)
Different types of cells are competing to populate the surgical site during healing after the surgery. Bone cells in our body move slower than most of the other types of cells. Therefore, when competing to populate the surgical site, by the time bone cells have migrated to the site other types of cells would have already populated the area. Membranes act as barriers over the bone grafted area to maximize bone growth. Membranes prevent other types of cells from populating the surgical site and allow bone cells time to reach to grafted area and grow bone there. There are two types of barrier membranes:
- Resorbable membrane – usually derived from collagen matrix of porcine and will be digested by the body in 2-5 months
- Non-resorbable membrane – usually made of Gortex® that is extremely compatible with human body and will not be digested by the body hence removal of membrane is needed about 4-6 months later
Growth factors are molecules in our body that provide signals to cells so the cells can survive and/or perform their functions. Growth factors used in bone grafting and periodontal procedures allow clinicians to enhance the cells to perform their functions. Common to most of the growth factors is their ability to provide faster wound healing. Currently, growth factors available in periodontics and bone grafting procedures are Emdogain®, Gem21S® and INFUSE®.