Dental Materials

Dental Materials

There are a handful of materials we use in our office to perform periodontal, dental implant, bone grafting, laser, and oral surgery procedures.

Dental Implants

In general, a dental implant is made of three components: implant screw, implant abutment, and implant crown. Implant screws, shaped like the root portion of natural teeth, 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 with the jaw bone, becoming secured within the bone.

Dental implants are made of titanium alloy, which is highly biologically compatible to the human body. It is very unlikely that an individual would develop immunological rejection to titanium dental implant, making it a choice material in surgical procedures. Recently, some implant companies have developed dental implant screws made of zirconia, which is also very compatible with the human body. The main benefits of zirconia implant screws are their white color, which may provide better esthetics in certain situations.

Bone Grafting Materials

Bone grafting material acts as matrix that allows the bone cells in our human body to migrate to the graft area to be used in making new bone. 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 deposit themselves to form new bone.

Commonly used bone grafting materials are as follows:

  1. Allografts (derived from another individual)
  2. Xenografts (derived from either bovines or equines)
  3. Autografts (derived from the patient him/herself )
  4. Alloplasts (synthetic bone)

Membranes

Different types of cells are competing to populate the surgical site during the healing process following 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 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, allowing bone cells time to reach the grafted area and grow bone there.  There are two types of barrier membranes:

  • Resorbable membrane – usually derived from collagen matrix of porcine, which 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

Growth factors are molecules in our body that provide signals to cells, helping the cells survive and/or perform their functions. Growth factors used in bone grafting and periodontal procedures allow clinicians to enhance how the cells to perform their functions. Common among 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®.