When you think about dental implants, fun probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. “Fun” also probably is not the way most people would describe dental implants, but there are a few interesting facts about dental implants that we think can definitely be described as fun.
1. Dental Implants Are as Strong as Spaceships
Rockets need to be strong enough to withstand the incredible forces of launching through the atmosphere. So, they are commonly made from titanium, which is an incredibly strong and lightweight material. The anchor and abutment portions of a dental implant are also made from titanium. So, they are strong enough to last a person for life.
2. Dental Implants Are Ancient
People have been replacing missing teeth using prosthetic devices for thousands of years. As early as 2,000 B.C.E. people in China used bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth. There’s evidence of ancient Egyptians using copper and other precious metals to replace teeth from around 1,000 B.C.E. Throughout millennia there’s evidence of other cultures using materials like gold, iron, seashells, and even teeth from animals.
3. People Used to Buy Teeth
Starting around the 16th century until the development of more modern dental implants in the first half of the 20th century, people would actually buy teeth from individuals who had lost them or even get them off of cadavers to use as replacements. As you can imagine, these loose teeth weren’t very useful to those who purchased them.
4. Modern Dental Implants Were Developed With Many Trials
During the early part of the 20th century, doctors began experimenting with screw-like apparatuses to support and fix tooth replacements in their patients’ mouths. They commonly used metals and alloys like gold and copper. Unfortunately, these materials did not take and were eventually rejected by their patients’ bodies.
5. Osseointegration Was Discovered in 1952
While studying the flow of blood in rabbits in 1952, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark accidentally discovered osseointegration (the process of bone fusing to metal) when the bones of the rabbits he was studying fused to the surgically placed titanium chambers he was using as a part of his research. As a result, the inadvertent discovery of titanium as a biocompatible metal occurred, and in 1965, Dr. Branemark successfully placed the first modern dental implant in a patient.
What Should You Know About Modern Dental Implants?
Tooth-replacement treatment with modern dental implants has come a long way since the early days. Dental implants are now the most popular tooth-replacement option because of all the benefits they offer patients. If you’re missing one or more teeth, then we recommend familiarizing yourself with dental implants and talking with our prosthodontist about your tooth-replacement options and the benefits of dental implants.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer several benefits.
Permanent and Versatile Treatment Option
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. They are also highly versatile as they can be used to replace one or more missing teeth either with a one-for-one replacement or by supporting dentures or a dental bridge.
Dental implants are topped with dental crowns that are designed to blend in with a patient’s natural teeth. As a result, they look just like your regular teeth and are not noticeable in your mouth at all.
Feel and Function Like Natural Teeth
Dental implants are fixed in the mouth with an implant anchor that osseointegrates directly with a patient’s jawbone – just like a tooth’s natural root system. As a result, they feel and work just like your natural teeth.
Support the Jawbone Health
Additionally, dental implants are the healthiest tooth replacement option because the implant anchor delivers pressure and stimulation directly to a patient’s jawbone. Without this stimulation, the jawbone will deteriorate over time. This deterioration can affect the health of neighboring teeth, resulting in future tooth loss, bite changes, and other orthodontic issues.
Preserve Facial Structure
The deterioration of the jawbone that occurs as a result of missing teeth can also result in the jawbone shrinking over time. This changes a person’s bone structure and appearance.
With proper care, dental implants are designed to last a person for life.
Easy to Maintain
Dental implants are easy to maintain. All they require is ongoing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. We might recommend purchasing a water flosser to enhance your ability to clean around your dental implant to prevent bacterial growth and periodontal disease which could compromise the soundness of your dental implant.
The Process of Getting a Dental Implant
The only potential drawback of getting a dental implant is that the process from consultation to completion can be fairly lengthy. The total amount of time and number of appointments needed for getting a dental implant depends on the individual patient and their needs.
The process always begins with a consultation and an evaluation. At this appointment, Dr. Andrew Bock talks with the patient about their goals and determines whether they are a candidate for a dental implant. We then determine whether the jawbone is strong enough to support an implant or if a bone graft is needed.
If a bone graft is needed, a bone graft placement will be the patient’s first procedure. The bone graft is then followed by a recovery and bone regeneration period. Once adequate jawbone mass is present, we can then place the implant anchor in a separate procedure. This procedure is also followed by a recovery period. Once healed and osseointegrated with the jawbone, the dental implant is topped with an abutment. Depending on the patient’s individual case, another healing period might be needed after the abutment is placed.
Finally, the dental implant can be topped with a custom-designed, permanent dental crown.
Schedule a Tooth-Replacement Consultation in Loveland
If you are missing one or more teeth and are interested in learning about all of your options for restoring your smile with prosthetic dentistry, we welcome you to contact Northern Colorado Prosthetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment with our prosthodontist in Loveland, Colorado.