New Research confirms Dental Implant success influenced by Bone Creating Protein
The dental health of the nation is on a decrease as more patients are suffering from tooth loss. Tooth loss not only has aesthetic effects but also causes a decrease in bone which in turn does not allow successful dental implants. This worrying situation has led to many researches in the field of diagnostic tools and innovative procedures. According to latest research carried out by researchers of the Georgia health Sciences, the success of dental implants is greatly affected by using bone creating protein to augment the maxillary sinus.
Effects of Tooth Loss
- Aesthetic: This is the most obvious effect of tooth loss. It changes the appearance thus affecting your psychological health. It induces a lot of negative outlook about yourself. Tooth loss causes the outer skin to become loose and thus you may experience pre-mature aging. Also missing teeth do not present a very pleasing look to you face. This in turn causes patients to become less confident and they may also avoid being social. Therefore not only physiological, tooth loss also has psychological effects.
- Bone Loss: Tooth loss not only creates gaps in your mouth but also causes loss in jaw bone. The form and density of the bone is maintained by stimulation. The alveolar bone which surrounds as well as supports the teeth requires regular stimulation. This stimulation is provided by the teeth itself. Teeth make fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. This produces small stresses which are transmitted via periodontal ligaments into the teeth sockets which in turn stimulate the bone and prompt it to rebuild regularly.
When there is loss of tooth, the stimulation is not provided to the alveolar bone, this causes loss in bone width, height and volume. In the first year, one experiences 25% decrease in the width and 4 millimeter decrease in the height. There is gradual loss in bone width and height which causes impairment in chewing and speech. Continuous loss results in aesthetic and functional problems. Once the alveolar bone is completely loss, the base bone, jawbone, starts to resorb. There are further complications involved with the loss of jawbone.
Dental Implants and Bone
Previously, dental implants were not available and the only options to replace teeth were dentures and dental brides. These procedures further caused bone loss or thinning of the jaw bone. Dental implants on the other hand provided various benefits such as better oral health, better speech and chewing ability and enhanced appearance.
A dental implant is an artificial root device which is made of titanium. These implants resemble the original tooth root and are fixed into the jawbone. The jaw bone accepts this implant and fuses with it thus forming a natural- like tooth.
Dental implants which are screwed into the bone will not work properly if the bone is thin. Bone thinning is a common after effect of tooth loss. In order to overcome this problem, the most preferred solution is bone grafting. Bone grafting requires placing of a graft in order to help dental implants. But this procedure is problematic since additional surgeries are required in order to graft the bone. Dr. Ulf M.E Wikesjo, Interim Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise in the GHSU College of Dental Medicine believes that Bone Grafts, even though useful create other complications and therefore are not apt.
Understanding Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP)
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are a group of growth factors. They are also known as cytokines and metabologens. They have the ability to induce bone and cartilage formation. But in recent years, BMP’s also said to constitute a group of important morphogenetic signals which are organizing the tissue architecture throughout the body. BMP’s are being studied over the years as they have the ability to heal bones and eliminate the need for bone grafts. A total of 20 BMPs have been identified out of which 6 are said to be useful for initiating bone growth.
There are many types of BMP’s such as BMP1, BMP2 and so forth, each having its own properties and specialized application. BMP-2 acts as a di-sulfide linked homodimer which induces bone and cartilage formation. BMP-2 is osteoinductive and finds its application in the field of dentistry. Since BMP-2 is commercially available, it has benefitted oral surgery and implant dentistry dramatically. The FDA has also approved the use of BMP-2 for spinal and oral surgeries.
Dr. Ulf and his team of researchers at the GHSU Laboratory for Applied Periodontal and Craniofacial Regeneration upon testing on animals were able to deduce the fact that upon implanting bone morphogenetic protein into the sinus, formation of new bone took place within four weeks, the same is not true when conventional bone grafting is done at the same site.
D. Ulf states that Bone Morphogenetic protein (BMP) induces a higher quality of bone than bone grafts. This increases the chances for successful dental implants in patients. According to him, BMP is a phenomenal breakthrough since it is a readily available product that is easy to use and produces effective results. He is of the belief that BMP could set new gold standards for the procedure of implants. BMP therefore improves fusion rate unlike bone grafts.
According to the American Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons reports and its findings,
- 69% of adults in the range of ages 35-45 have experienced at least one tooth loss due to factors such as tooth decay, trauma or disease.
- 26% of elderly by the age of 74 have lost all their permanent teeth.
The pilot study done by Dr. Ulf and his team was presented on March 4th at the Academy of Osseointegration Annual Meet in Washington DC. The co- investigators of this research along with DR. Ulf Wikesjo include, Drs. Jarbum Lee, Cristiano Susin, Nancy Rodriguez and Jamie de Stefano.