July 10, 2016
Your real teeth are meant to last you for the rest of your life. That is why when we are young and those teeth are coming in, there is such an emphasis on making sure that you are taking proper care of them. But things happen, and sometimes you lose your teeth. What next? Dr. Ki in Fairfax, VA wants to let you in on the modern dental fix that can last you the rest of your life, one that’s as old as the ancient Mayan civilization. Welcome to the world of dental implants.
A Solution as Old as The Ancient Mayans
Dental implants are not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are one of the oldest forms of dentistry we know of. Of course, the early forms of dental implants were not like the shiny titanium miracles we have today. The first evidence we have of implant dentistry being attempted comes straight out of the pages of history, from the ancient Mayan civilization. Skeletons found by researchers show that the Mayans attempted to replace missing teeth by using seashells and hard minerals.
While these tooth replacement options are remarkable, the next bit of information is even more so. The dental structure of those receiving the implants showed evidence that their bone actually tried to bond with the replacement material. Though the bond was weak, the body was motivated to find a replacement option for the missing tooth, and it made an effort to fully accept these early attempts at implant dentistry.
The Implants We Use Today Were An Accident
The modern iteration of the dental implant actually came about by accident. While studying the blood flow in rabbit femurs, Dr. Brånemark discovered that the titanium cylinders he had implanted into the bone had actually bonded with the bone. He termed this bonding process “osseointegration,” a trait that is unique to titanium. From there, Dr. Brånemark used titanium dental implants on his first patient in 1965. His patient had four implants put in, and in six months, the implants had fully bonded with the jawbone. Those early implants were recorded as lasting that patient for 40 years!
Three Ways Dental Implants Can Help You
Here are three benefits modern-day dental implants provide when replacing your teeth.
Stability – A dental implant is, in effect, a replacement tooth root. Dr. Ki will gently place the implant in your jawbone to fill the spot vacated by your lost natural tooth. Because of titanium’s unique trait of osseointegration, this dental implant will do exactly what your natural tooth root did: bond with your dental structure and give you a supremely secure base upon which to place your replacement tooth, or crown. Dentures cannot even come close to this level of stability.
Bone Health – One often overlooked task of your tooth roots is that they take up space in your jawbone and stimulate it. You may be wondering why this is important. Well, have you ever seen someone who has lost all of their teeth? Did you see how their mouth looks like it shrunk? That effect is what happens when bone deterioration sets in. Your jawbone literally starts to fall in on itself without a placeholder in those sockets to keep it healthy and full. Dental implants act as that same placeholder your natural tooth roots did. They help maintain the skeletal structure of your jaw and keep your mouth from looking shriveled.
Reliability – The third reason dental implants are the only permanent option for your dental replacement needs is that they are exceptionally reliable. Remember the story of Dr. Brånemark’s first dental implant patient? Forty years is how long those early dental implants lasted, and we are light years ahead of the quality of those implants. The success rate for dental implant surgery today is north of 95 percent, and the main reason for failure it that there is not enough bone structure to support a dental implant. That is a condition we are able to treat with surgical procedures like bone grafts.
Ready to see how you can gain these benefits from implants? Call Dr. Ki at our Fairfax, VA dental office to schedule your appointment. You can reach us at 703-552-2530.