Dental implants are so commonplace these days, it’s tempting to think they’ve been around forever. Actually they’ve only been used for tooth replacement around the last 50 years. Before that people were trying to replace their teeth, but they didn’t exactly use the titanium found in today’s implants.
Archeological digs have unearthed implanted seashells and ivory in the jawbone of ancient Mayans and Egyptians. While placing a seashell in your gums isn’t our idea of fun, the idea of replacing a missing tooth with an implant goes way back.
Modern implants can be traced back to 1952. As with many discoveries, implants were an accident. Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Branemark, was studying bone healing and regeneration. Seeking to help mend a broken tibia in a rabbit, he inserted a titanium screw to help support the bone, but found that when he tried to remove the screw later the bone had fully grown around it and it couldn’t be removed. A decade of research followed and the modern dental implant debuted in 1965.
Our team at Gentle Dental believes dental implants are the best solution to replace a missing tooth, whether it is a tooth that is already gone, or a tooth that is so badly damaged or decayed that it requires extraction.
But some people resist our suggestion to place an implant. They’re not concerned with a missing tooth or two and don’t see the need to replace them. But that can lead to problems; if you don’t replace a missing tooth the adjacent teeth tend to spread out to fill the gap, kind of like people do in a stadium when one person in the row leaves. This creates problems with your overall bite and tooth alignment.
OK, now that we’ve lectured you on the need for implants, here are some other facts about these sturdy false teeth:
- 25% of Americans over age 74 have lost all of their natural teeth.
- An estimated 69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth.
- Dental implants are basically a titanium screw that is set into the hole in the jawbone where the natural tooth root was anchored. The jawbone then grows around the implant in a process known as osseointegration.
- Once in place, implants function like a natural tooth, transferring the energy from biting and chewing down into the jawbone beneath the artificial tooth. This stimulation is responsible for the jawbone continually renewing itself, a process that prevents bone loss.
- Implants can also be used to anchor partial or complete dentures.
- Implants now have a 98% success rate.
If you are missing a tooth, call us at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660, and let’s talk about replacing it with a dental implant.