September 20, 2016
In the past, if you lost a tooth, your options were limited to getting dentures, getting a bridge, or dealing with the open spot in your smile. Today, your options are not nearly that limited. Mint 32 Dentistry can give you a replacement option that is as good as, and in some ways better than, your real tooth. Learn more about dental implants and how Dr. Morton can help you navigate the process.
Ancient Tooth Replacement Option
Your body wants to keep a full mouth of teeth. It doesn’t like losing any of them. The first evidence of this natural desire was found in the ancient Mayan civilization. The skeletal remains of ancient Mayans showed some primitive attempts at replacing missing teeth. For the time and technology available, their attempts were remarkable. While not nearly as effective as anything we have today, the seashells and hard minerals they used to replace teeth showed signs of trying to bond with the jawbone. In other words, the body tried to make them a part of themselves. This showed that the body is willing to accept a tooth replacement option.
The big question that came later is what option would the body fully accept. That option came in the form of an accidental discovery in the 1950s by a man studying rabbits.
A Wonderful Accident
By happy accident, Dr. P. Brånemark found out that titanium would be the perfect solution to the dental implant mystery. The funny thing is that he was not working on dental implant research at the time. In 1952, Dr. Brånemark was busy studying the blood flow within the femur bones of rabbits. He implanted titanium cylinders into the bones for his research. When the time came, he attempted to remove the cylinders and ran into a problem: the cylinders would not come out. In fact, they had fused completely with the bone. Dr. Brånemark could tell that the bond was complete because when the cylinders were removed, it would break the bone but not the cylinder. The cylinders still had bone attached to them upon removal. This accidental discovery showed that titanium possessed a very unique quality, the ability to completely fuse and bond with bone structure. This trait is called osseointegration, and it is key to the success of modern dental implants.
Three Benefits of Dental Implants
Modern dental implants are made almost exclusively from titanium and are more than 95 percent successful when placed correctly. There are three primary benefits to choosing dental implants.
Stability – When you try to wiggle one of your healthy, natural teeth, do you feel any movement? You don’t, and that is because nature gave you a perfect tool for the job that your teeth have. Central to their ability to perform this job is their stability. Dental implants can give you that same stability, which traditional dentures and bridges cannot claim. This is all due to osseointegration. The dental implant will fuse with your bone and support your replacement tooth the same way that your natural tooth roots did.
Bone Health – Have you seen a person who has lost all of their teeth? Notice how their face looks like it has shrunk? That is due to bone deterioration after tooth loss. When a tooth comes out, it leaves an open spot in your smile and in your jawbone. Over time, that open spot will be the starting point for breakdown in your bone structure. Dental implants can help prevent this deterioration from occurring. By taking the spot of your natural tooth root and filling that void, your bone will have the support it needs to remain healthy and full. Once you lose your bone mass, there are only a handful of ways to get it back, and they all require surgery. Take the steps now to save your bone mass, and keep your full, youthful appearance intact.
Longevity – Your real teeth are designed to last you for your entire life. If that doesn’t work out, dental implants can step in and finish the race for them. Dr. Brånemark placed his first dental implants for a patient in 1965. It took only six months for full bone fusion to occur, and those dental implants lasted the patient for 40 years. Remember, these were the first ones he placed – imagine how much better the ones we use now are. In the past 50 years, we have gone to the moon and back, seen some of the deepest parts of the ocean, created the Internet and the smartphone, and now have computers that can recognize our faces. Our modern implants are like nothing Dr. P. Brånemark could have ever dreamed, and they are still getting better.
Call our Alpharetta, GA office today at 770-901-2719 to schedule your appointment. You can use our online form to schedule your appointment as well.