Primary stability and an optimized load transfer are assumed to account for an undisturbed osseointegration process of implants. Immediate loaded newly designed titanium dental implants inserted in the mandible of minipigs were used for the characterization of the interfacial area between the implant surface and the surrounding bone tissue during the early healing phase. Histological and electron microscopical studies were performed from implant containing bone specimens. Two different load regimens were applied to investigate the load related tissue reaction. Histological and electron microscopical analysis revealed a direct bone apposition on the implant surfaces, as well as the attachment of cells and matrix proteins in the early loading phase. A striking finding of the ultrastructural immunocytochemical investigations was the synthesis and deposition of bone related proteins (osteonectin, fibronectin, fibronectin receptor) by osteoblasts from day one of bone/biomaterial interaction. Calcium-phosphate needle-like crystallites were newly synthesized in a time-related manner directly at the titanium surface. No difference in the ultrastructural appearance of the interface was found between the two loading groups. Our experimental data suggest that loading of specially designed implants can be performed immediately after insertion without disturbing the biological osseointegration process. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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