Composite Morphology of the Bone and Associated Support-Tissue Interfaces to Osseointegrated Dental Implants: TEM and HVEM Analyses

David E. Steflik, R. Scott Corpe, Francis T. Lake, Allen L. Sisk, Gregory R. Parr, Philip J. Hanes, Karolyn Buttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Correlated transmission electron and high-voltage electron microscopic analyses examined the undecalcified bone and associated support tissues of 60 endosseous titanium blade and titanium and ceramic root-form implants in dogs. The implants supported fixed partial dentures for up to 2 years. Data obtained from this investigation suggest that a range of tissues, both mineralized and unmineralized, support osseointegrated dental implants. This study examined the tissues apposing not just isolated aspects of the implant surface, but the entire length of the implant, and found that mineralized and unmineralized tissues existed concurrently. Much of the implant surface was apposed by mandibular bone, and both root-form and blade implants osseointegrated. The densely mineralized collagen fibril matrix was often separated from the implant by only a 20-nm to 50-nm electron-dense, ruthenium-positive deposit. High-voltage electron microscope stereology demonstrated that cellular processes extended directly to the implant from underlying osteocytes. In the same implants, areas containing an unmineralized collagen matrix interposed between the bone and implant surface were observed. In this region osteoblasts interacted with this matrix, and Howship's lacunae, containing vascular elements and osteoclasts, were also observed. The remodeling activities appear to be a homeostasis of catabolic activity (osteoclasts) and metabolic activity (osteoblasts). The apex of the implant was often apposed by a fibrofatty stroma. The support tissue response appears to be the result of the interrelations of osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts in association with vascular elements. Therefore, the support tissue response to osseointegrated implants is a dynamic activity that involves the healthy interaction of these cells and tissues along the entire length of the implant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Bone
  • Dental implants
  • High-voltage electron microscopy
  • Osseointegration
  • Osteogenesis
  • Tissue interfaces
  • Transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery


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