Are dental implants right for you?
By the time an American turns 50, they have lost an average of 12 teeth. That figure might be surprising given the fact that it isn’t common to see people walking around with big gaps in their smile.
This is due to the accessibility and affordability of restorative dentistry options. The option that is the most like having natural teeth is dental implants. This sturdy tooth replacement option can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or even all the teeth.
If you’ve never heard of dental implants before, or even if you have, there are a number of interesting facts about dental implants you might not be aware of. Let’s delve into a few of them here.
1. It’s impossible for dental implants to get cavities (but still be sure to take good care of your teeth).
Having implants is just like having natural teeth, with one major difference: implants can’t get cavities. Regular dental visits and home hygiene tasks, such as brushing and flossing, are still important to ensure the health of the gums and overall oral health. However, the durable material used to make the crown on top of the implant can’t harbor tooth decay. Win!
2. Dental implants are made of the same material as space shuttles and rockets.
As you might imagine, space shuttles and rockets are made from some of the best materials found on Earth. After all, nobody wants their space shuttle to spring a leak in the middle of space. As such, titanium, one of the strongest metals known to man, is routinely used.
Dental implants consist of a titanium base that is implanted into the jawbone, acting as a replacement root for the missing tooth. In addition to strength, titanium is resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for use both in space and in the human mouth.
3. The human body has an amazing ability to fuse with titanium and promote bone growth through osseointegration.
Beyond being strong, titanium is apt for dental implants for another reason: osseointegration. That big word is just a fancy way of saying that the metal is capable of fusing to human bone.
Other materials have been used to create dental implants as far back as 2000 BCE, when the ancient Chinese replaced missing teeth with bamboo. More recently, in the early to mid-1900s, researchers were searching for a more solid dental implant option.
With the breakthrough of using titanium posts in 1965, they found what they were looking for. Titanium’s unique ability to fuse with human bone eliminated the need for adhesives or other methods of rooting the post in the patient’s mouth. Instead, the post could simply be inserted and allowed to fuse to the bone over a few months. After that, all the dentist had to do was mount the crown and the patient enjoyed a false tooth as strong or stronger than a real tooth.
4. Dental implants restore your biting power.
Other than having an unsightly gap, there is another major unfortunate side effect of losing teeth. Without the support of solid teeth, the jawbone begins to lose strength and many people even experience bone loss and a loss of bite strength.
The good news is this strength and bone are not lost forever. The titanium implants can actually stimulate bone growth and help restore lost bite power. With a full set of chompers once more, patients can be firmly on the road to normalcy once again.
5. The surgery is safe and quick.
Another great benefit of dental implants is that the surgery is simple and routine. Some patients may require more site preparation, such as bone grafting, particularly those who have already experienced bone loss. However, for many people, the implant surgery for one tooth is only an hour or two. After a day or two of discomfort, the patient is well on their way to healing, then it’s just a matter of a short visit to mount the crown later.
6. Dental implants last a lifetime.
Due to the strength of titanium implants and the crown’s inability to get a cavity, patients can expect their implants to last for their whole life with proper care. Regular tooth-brushing and flossing is a must because even though the implant crown can’t get a cavity, the patient can develop gum disease in the tissue surrounding an implant.
Plus, any real teeth the patient has are susceptible to cavities and must be kept clean. After all, even though dental implants are amazing, there’s no point in implanting more than necessary.
The Incredible Dental Implant
How many of these facts did you know? Are you curious to learn more about dental implants and find out if they are a good option for fixing your tooth troubles? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information. The team here at the dental office of Bruce Sexton, DDS, is always happy to answer your dental questions.