In this day and age, people are more concerned than ever about having a beautiful smile. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors including poor oral hygiene and a diet high in carbohydrates, you may not have the smile you desire. If missing teeth are your main concern, however, you’re in luck. Dental implants are growing in popularity because of their many amazing benefits
History of Dental Implants
If you think the desire to replace missing teeth is a new concept, guess again! People have been obsessed with having a full mouth of teeth for a long time. The jaws of ancient Mayans dating back to 600 AD have been found with stones and seashells in the place of teeth. Ancient Egyptians also used different items to replace missing teeth, such as gold and seashells. Shockingly, some of these “implants” actually seemed to have been successful.
Luckily, modern implants for replacing missing teeth have come a long way….but they still aren’t a brand new concept. The first implants were recorded in 1809, but they were far from successful. In 1952, however, an accidental discovery by Swedish professor Ingvar Brånemark changed everything, making beautiful and long-lasting dental implants a real possibility.
What Makes Them Work
What exactly was it that Brånemark discovered? It was a process he called osseointegration. In layman’s terms, he discovered that titanium can fuse to bone. At the time, he was actually studying blood flow, but when he inserted a titanium implant into a bone, he realized that, after some time, he couldn’t remove it. This discovery revolutionized tooth implants!
Your teeth aren’t just sitting in your jaw bone. They are connected to the jawbone by the periodontal ligament. This ligament sits between the jaw bone and your tooth, keeping them stuck together. Dental implants mimic this relationship through osseointegration. Instead of using the ligament to create a firm hold, the titanium fuses directly to the bone, allowing the implant to function similar to your natural dentition.
Benefits of Titanium Implants
Because titanium implants mimic natural teeth so well, they have many amazing benefits. For starters, they are strong. You may not realize it, but chewing is a lot of work and puts a lot of pressure on your teeth. Thanks to osseointegration, implants can withstand the daily grind. In fact, with proper care, a dental implant may even last the rest of your life.
Another benefit of dental implants is that they preserve the shape of your jaw and help support the soft tissues (cheeks, lips, etc.) of your face. Your teeth and jaw bone have a symbiotic relationship: your jaw bone helps support your teeth, and your teeth stimulate your jaw. If you don’t use it, you lose it – similar to how a muscle atrophies if you broke your leg and couldn’t use it for months. The same can be said of your jaw bone. If you have missing teeth, your jaw bone shrinks because it isn’t needed. Long term, this can actually change the shape of the lower portion of your face. Dental bridges and dentures don’t stimulate your jaw bone. Only natural teeth and dental implants do.
Dental implants have come a long way and are the most durable option for replacing missing teeth. If you have questions or would like more information about tooth implants, please contact our friendly staff here at Landmark Dental Group in Santa Cruz today!