The purpose of this report is to present transmission electron microscopic and high voltage transmission electron microscopic (HVEM) observations of a longitudinal investigation examining the activities of osteoblasts and associated tissues apposing titanium and alumina oxide ceramic endosteal dental implants. The HVEM permitted 3-dimensional stereologic observations. All observations were obtained from undecalcified interfacial tissues from this in vivo experimental dog model using commercially available implants placed into the mandible. Two similar implants were placed in both sides of the mandible, with implants in 12 of the 18 dogs supporting fixed bridges for either 6 or 12 months. From the study, we observed that a mineralized matrix exists in direct apposition to the implant. Since bone does not interface the entire length of the implant, other interfacial zones were found to exist which consisted of unmineralized tissues. In such zones, we observed that osteoblasts were routinely found directly at the implant interface to the mandibular bone. These interfacial tissues included unmineralized collagen fibers, proteinaceous material, a finely fibrillar matrix, and the osteoblasts. This study has reinforced the concept that the oral tissue-dental implant interface is a dynamic zone consisting of remodeling activities of the osseous cells and extracellular matrices.
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