Osseointegration can be defined as a direct connection, both structural and functional, between living bone and the surface of an artificial implant. Indeed, the word comes from the Greek term for ‘bone’ and ‘to make whole’. In dentistry, once dental implants are placed, the body will react with osseointegration, enabling the implants to become a permanent part of the jaw. There are many benefits to this type of implant, compared with traditional tooth replacement options, not least that dental implants mimic the strength and functionality of a natural tooth. Dr Shuhei Tsuchiya is a researcher based in the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Nagoya University, Japan, who is interested in a range of areas, including regenerative medicine and the extracellular matrix. One of his key preoccupations, though, is shedding light on osseointegration. He and his team are working to unravel the mysteries of the mechanism.